This Frosted Circus Animal Cheesecake is two things – fun and delicious! Made with ingredients like real circus cookies and pink melting chocolates, this cheesecake recipe will truly amaze you.
What’s in this Frosted Circus Animal Cheesecake Recipe?
Between the animal cookie crust and creamy cheesecake filling, everyone will be fighting for a slice of this adorable dessert.
- Circus Animal Cookies: These delicious frosting-coated shortbread cookies make the perfect colorful crust!
- Unsalted Butter: Helps bind the cookies together for the crust.
- Granulated Sugar: Sweetens the crust.
- Cream Cheese: Forms the base of this creamy, tangy cheesecake filling.
- Powdered Sugar: Sweetens the cheesecake without making it gritty.
- Vanilla Extract: Adds a rich vanilla flavor to the cheesecake.
- Pink Candy Melts: Adds a vanilla flavor and rich pink color.
- Pink Food Coloring: Enhances the pink color of the cheesecake. This is totally optional and up to your personal preference!
Pro Tip: Top your cheesecake with rainbow sprinkles and crushed-up circus animal cookies to really take it to the next level!
Variations on Circus Animal Cheesecake
This no bake cheesecake is so versatile! Swap the frosted circus animal cookies for classic shortbread cookies, circus animal sugar cookies, or use my funfetti shortbread recipe to keep the fun color with a more homemade taste. For a purple cheesecake, swap the circus animal cookies for Sparkling Mythical Creatures Cookies and use purple candy melts and food coloring.
When making this no bake cheesecake, I always line the baking pan with parchment paper. When doing this, make sure you allow the ends of the parchment paper to overlap the sides of the pan! That way, you can easily lift the cheesecake out of the pan once it’s set. If you’re all out of parchment paper, though, that’s okay. There’s no need to spray nonstick oil to the bottom of the pan, as you won’t be baking the crust.
If you have a food processor handy, using that is absolutely the easiest way to get your animal cookies into the desired fine powder. However, you could also go about things the old-fashioned way! Simply put the cookies in a Ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin or something similar.
With no bake cheesecakes, it is important not to rush the chilling process, as that is what sets the cheesecake. Be sure to chill the cheesecake in the refrigerator after a minimum of 4 hours (overnight preferred).
No bake cheesecake will firm up in the refrigerator, but it will never be quite as firm as a baked cheesecake.
How to Store
In an airtight container in the refrigerator, this circus animal cheesecake will stay fresh for about 4 days! Enjoy cold, or let come to room temperature.
How to Freeze
Freeze circus animal cheesecake whole or cut into bars tightly wrapped in 2 layers of plastic wrap and 1 layer of aluminum foil for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before enjoying.
Serve this fun and colorful cheesecake topped with rainbow sprinkles and crushed-up circus animal cookies to keep the theme going. A dollop of stabilized whipped cream (colored pink if you like!) would also be great.
Frosted Circus Animal Cheesecake Recipe (No Bake)
- 11 ounces circus animal cookies 312 grams (1¼ bags) – plus more for topping!
- ½ cup unsalted butter 113 grams, melted, (1 stick)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar 13 grams
- 16 ounces cream cheese 454 grams (2 bricks)
- 1 cup powdered sugar 113 grams
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 4 grams
- 1 cup pink candy melts 170 grams (see note)
- Pink food coloring optional
- Rainbow sprinkles optional, for topping
- Kitchen Scale (optional)
- 8×8 Baking Pan
- Food Processor (optional)
- Stand Mixer
For the Crust
- Prepare an 8×8-inch baking pan by lining it with parchment paper, having the ends overlap the pan by about an inch on the sides. (This will allow for easy lifting and removal of the cheesecake once it sets)
- Using a food processor or large Ziplock bag, crush the cookies until they are a fine powder. Stir together with the melted butter and sugar, until the crumble becomes dough-like.11 ounces circus animal cookies, ½ cup unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan, pushing into every corner and covering the entire bottom of the pan. Place the crust in the refrigerator to set while preparing the filling.
For the FIlling
- While the crust sets, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla together.16 ounces cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- While the cream cheese mixture beats, melt the pink chocolates in a small, microwave-safe bowl.1 cup pink candy melts
- While mixing the cream cheese mixture on slow speed, pour in the melted pink candies or white chocolate chips. Add pink food coloring, if desired. Once it is well combined, pour over the prepared crust, spreading evenly until the entire bottom crust is covered.Pink food coloring
- Place in the refrigerator until the cheesecake sets, about 2-3 hours. Top with rainbow sprinkles and circus cookies, if desired. Cut and serve.Rainbow sprinkles
- Candy Melts: If pink candy melts are unavailable, white chocolate chips can be substituted. Once they are melted, quickly stir into the cream cheese mixture. Pink food coloring can be added to make the filling pink, or it can be left white, over the pink crust.
- Pink food coloring can still be added to the pink melts mixture if you would like a more vibrant color. I left mine without coloring in the pictures.
- Candy melts and melted chocolate can begin to set when placed with cold filling, so it is important to quickly stir to combine.
- This can also be made using an 8-inch round springform pan.
- Don’t be afraid to really crush the cookies into a fine powder. If they’re still in large pieces, the crust won’t form the way you want it to.
- For toppings, I always opt for colorful rainbow sprinkles! They remind me of the cookies. However, crushed-up cookies or even whole circus cookies on top of each piece of cheesecake would also be too cute.
- Depending on how cold your refrigerator is, your cheesecake might need more time to set. However, as long as you’ve passed the 3-hour mark, your dessert should be ready to serve!
- Nutritional information does not include optional ingredients.