This Circus Cookie Layered Cake Recipe Will Awaken The '90s Kid In You

I used to be all about making layered cakes, just like this circus cookie layered cake recipe. Well, all about it once I learned how to make them successfully. Before I bought the Wilton layered cake set, I thought it would be cool to make them in a regular cake pan. Have you ever tried that? It takes about six times the batter, four times the time, and 10 times the effort. Not. Worth. It. Anyway, I'm not sure why I went on a layered cake hiatus, but they are back and better than ever, people. In the past I’ve made layered cakes with cotton candy, dunkaroos, and a sh*t ton of candy, so it only felt natural to have another throwback layered cake.

This throwback cake (as you can clearly see) is topped with tons of circus cookies, and basically looks like my seventh grade dream cake. Not much has changed since my middle school years apparently, because after one look and one bite of this treat, I realized it’s still my dream cake. For you busy bees who don’t have time for a nine step recipe (seriously, one of the steps is turning on the oven — I think you can handle this), check out my no-bake circus cookie bars recipe. OK, you should probably check that out anyway as it’s insanely good. Now I’m just dreaming of a circus cookie party. Cakes, cookie bars, the possibilities are endless.


For cake:

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, melted
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Nonpareils (about 1 tsp. per layered cake)
  • 1 drop of pink food coloring, per cake

For frosting:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the cake ingredients, and whisk until smooth.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Pour equal amounts of batter into each Wilton cake pan set.
  4. Stir mixture in each pan, and bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted, and comes out clean.
  5. Place pans in the freezer for 20 minutes, or until completely cooled. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all frosting ingredients until smooth.
  6. If cakes are dome shape, cut the tops off with a bread knife. Cake layers need to be as straight as possible.
  7. Place the first layer of cake on a rotating cake stand, and top with frosting.
  8. Repeat the previous step with other layers of the cake until the top is covered with frosting. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  9. With an offset spatula, frost the side of the cakes until smooth. Decorate with circus cookies, and enjoy!

For more cool food ideas, check out Bustle on YouTube.

Bustle on YouTube

Images & Recipe: Public Lives, Secret Recipes