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Animal Cracker Circus Cupcakes Recipe

Animal Cracker Circus Cupcakes Recipe

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I have a friend who was looking at doing a Circus themed birthday party for their 6-year-old and she asked me for ideas. I LOVE serving cupcakes to kids because everyone gets the same portion size and they all get the same amount of frosting and decorations. These simple Circus cupcakes have the flair of the circus with the cupcake liners, sprinkles, and animal cracker toppers.

how to make circus cupcakes article cover image

The animal crackers that we’re familiar with today were first made in England in the mid-1800s. They were slightly sweet biscuits shaped like animals. For a while, they were imported to the United States, but in 1871 the D.F. Stauffer Biscuit Company in York, Pennsylvania, started producing them.

Animal Cracker Fun Facts: In total there have been 54 different kinds of animals in animal crackers since 1902. The current crackers are tiger, cougar, camel, rhinoceros, kangaroo, hippopotamus, bison, lion, hyena, zebra, elephant, sheep, bear, gorilla, monkey, seal, and giraffe.

You can use a Funfetti cake mix from a box to make the cupcakes if you want, but if you do? Check out our post on How to Make Killer Cupcakes so your cupcake fans would never be able to tell!

How to Make Animal Cracker Circus Cupcakes

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted sweet cream butter softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup of crumbled Animal crackers
  • 1/4 cup multi-colored nonpareils
  • muffin pan
  • cupcake liners

To Make the Circus Cupcakes

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Pop the cupcake liners into your muffin pan. Fill a Ziploc bag with Animal Crackers and hit with something like an ice cream scoop to crumble them up. Fill the bottom of the liners with crumbled Animal Cracker cookies.

Using a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together with a wire whisk. In a separate large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high for 30 seconds. Now add sugar, and vanilla to the butter and beat until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternate, the flour mixture, and milk to butter mixture beating on low speed until everything is well combined. Quickly stir in the non-pareils. Fill the cupcake liners to 2/3 full with the cake batter. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before frosting.

Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 1 c unsalted sweet cream butter
  • 3 c powder sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp heavy whipping cream
  • multi-colored nonpareils
  • 12-18 Animal Crackers for garnish
Animal Cracker Cupcake Birthday Recipe


In a large mixing bowl, beat butter, vanilla and cream cheese on high speed until fluffy. Add 3 cups of sugar, one at a time. Add in heavy cream if frosting is looking like sugar pebbles. Scrape the sides to get all of the sugar. Mix until your frosting is stiff and won’t fall off the whisk.
Using a star tip, pipe on the frosting onto the top of the cupcake. Sprinkle with a few multicolored non-pareils and place an Animal Cracker Cookie on top.

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