We just got back from a whirlwind week at Disney, where of course we had to ride Dumbo the Flying Elephant a half dozen times, so I thought it was the perfect time to share these Dumbo Circus Cupcakes with you!
We were just at Disney for a 2-day conference, but I decided to make the most of the flight and we stayed for a week – half of it spent at the parks, half of it spent at the pool. Now we’re home with sub-zero temperatures and I need to head to the basement soon to dig out a winter jacket and hat for Ella… not the kind of warm welcome I was hoping for!
This is our third visit to DisneyWorld in less than a year, so we’re a lot more relaxed about our itinerary and I don’t bother trying to do it all.
We go at Ella’s pace, we ride the same rides over and over, and we head back early for supper and swimming. There are people who’ve made it their job to attempt to do everything Disney has to offer and they are still working on it – so I’ve accepted that we should focus on having a great time and do a few new things each time, rather than trying to do it all, which makes the parks actually enjoyable.
I have no idea how we ended up having a bag of Animal Crackers in the house, but sure enough it was here! Half of the time when I’m baking I search the kitchen for ingredients that need to be used up or interesting combinations of food – and this time, those Animal Crackers seemed to need a purpose.
At the parks, they have cute Dumbo Cupcakes with White Chocolate Dumbo’s on them, so this is my cheater version! You could definitely dip the animal crackers in white chocolate before using them to garnish, or buy the iced version.
How to Make Dumbo’s Circus Cupcakes
First, gather your ingredients:
For the cupcakes:
- Eggs, room temperature
- All-purpose flour
- Baking powder
- White sugar
- White sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Animal Crackers, crumbled, optional
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
- Cream Cheese, softened
- Butter, room temperature
- Powdered icing sugar
- Vanilla Extract
- Heavy Whipping Cream
- Animal Crackers, for garnish
- Rainbow Sprinkles, optional
Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.
Tip: swap out the from-scratch vanilla cupcakes for boxed cupcakes if you need to save time.
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Electric mixer<– this is a great hand mixer if you don’t want to make the investment into a stand mixer
- Large mixing bowl
- Piping bag
- Large star tip <– a basic piping set will have all you need
- Cupcake pan
- Cupcake liners
- Cupcake scoop
- Cooling racks <– I have and love these tiered cooling racks, they save so much counter space and are also oven-safe
How to Make Circus Cupcakes
For the Vanilla Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line your cupcake pan with cute circus-themed liners.
Fill a ziplock bag with Animal Crackers and and crumble
Fill the bottom of the liners with crumbled Animal Cracker cookie, if using.
Using a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt.
In a separate large mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high for 30 seconds.
Add in the sugar, vanilla and eggs (one at a time) to the butter and beat until combined.
Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, combine, then half of the milk. Repeat.
Fill the cupcake pan liners 2/3 with cake batter (about 1/4 cup).
Bake for 18-20 minutes.
Remove cupcakes from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before frosting
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
In large mixing bowl, beat butter, vanilla and cream cheese on high speed until fluffy
Add 3 cups of sugar, one at a time. Add the salt for balance.
Add in the heavy cream 1 Tablespoon at a time until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.
Fit a piping bag with a star tip (Wilton 2D), and spoon in the frosting.
Swirl the frosting onto the cupcakes and then garnish with Animal Crackers and sprinkles, if using.
Grab your free printable of our Animal Cracker Circus Cupcakes here:
For the cupcakes:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup of crumbled Animal crackers, optional
For the Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- 3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 12-18 Animal Crackers, for garnish
- Rainbow sprinkles, optional
For the cupcakes
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Line your cupcake pan with cute circus-themed liners.
- Fill a ziplock bag with Animal Crackers and and crumble
- Fill the bottom of the liners with crumbled Animal Cracker cookie, if using.
- Using a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a separate large mixing bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium to high for 30 seconds.
- Add in the sugar, vanilla and eggs (one at a time) to the butter and beat until combined.
- Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, combine, then half of the milk. Repeat.
- Fill the cupcake pan liners 2/3 with cake batter (about 1/4 cup).
- Bake for 18-20 minutes.
- Remove cupcakes from pan and allow to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before frosting
For the frosting:
- In large mixing bowl, beat butter, vanilla and cream cheese on high speed until fluffy
- Add 3 cups of sugar, one at a time.
- Add the salt.
- Add in the heavy cream 1 Tablespoon at a time until the frosting reaches your desired consistency.
- Fit a piping bag with a star tip (Wilton 2D), and spoon in the frosting.
- Swirl the frosting onto the cupcakes and then garnish with Animal Crackers and sprinkles, if using.
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Philadelphia Original Cream Cheese Brick (8 oz Box)
Cake Decorating Supplies Kit for Beginners, Set of 137, Baking Pastry Tools, 1 Turntable stand-55 Numbered Icing Tips with Pattern Chart, Angled Spatula, 8 Russian Piping nozzles-Baking Tools
Cookie Scoop Ice Cream Scoop Melon Scoop 18/8 Stainless Steel with Trigger Cupcake Scoops (#14)
Wilton Excelle Elite 3-Tier Cooling Rack for Cookies, Cakes and More
Mother's Circus Animal Cookies, 11 Ounce
Wilton 710-772 Rainbow Nonpareil Food Decorative, 3 oz, Multicolored
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 575Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 189mgCarbohydrates: 113gFiber: 1gSugar: 94gProtein: 3g
Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.
These Dumbo Cupcakes would make a cute addition to a Circus themed party or a family movie night.
Be sure to pin these for later, and then check out some of our other Disney-inspired desserts, like our Beauty & the Beast Chip Rice Krispies, or one of our Disney movie night set-ups, like this one we did for Pirates of the Caribbean.