Ice Cream Cake with Circus Animal Crust {Lightened Up}

This  Ice Cream Cake with Circus Animal Crust is super easy, and made on the lighter side, with a crust that will bring you back to your child hood. It’s great for kids and adults alike! 

Ice Cream Cake with Circus Animal Crust {Lightened Up} - Food Faith Fitness

We are partyin’ AGAIN guys.

I know there has been a lot of celebration-ing with the Strawberry Freeze and the Skinny Peanut Butter Krispie Bars, but today is the Animal Crackers  birthday!

Who doesn’t love animal crackers? We all grew up eating them, pretending they were our pets and making pretend Zoos out of them.

The last 2 points may have been just me though. Moving on.

Ice Cream Cake with Circus Animal Crust {Lightened Up} - Food Faith Fitness

I decided I couldn’t pass up the chance to celebrate, and make a cake that has been on my “to-do” list for all the evers.

How-ev-er, it didn’t go quite as planned.  Grab your coffee’s peeps because I have a saga to share with ya’ll.

Everything started off fabbity-fab. I had this great idea to make a crust out of Circus Animal Cookies (My secret guilty pleasure) instead of a typical graham crust.  I got it all crushed up and mixed it with some coconut oil, and popped it into the freezer. Things were just rollin’ along. I was p-u-m-p-e-d.

Ice Cream Cake with Circus Animal Crust {Lightened Up} - Food Faith Fitness

I filled it with ice cream and then made the filling with white chocolate, more Circus Animals (because why not?) and some more oil and some cream (again, why not? Go big or go home I always say) and poured it on.  After another layer of ice-cream, back into the freezer it went. To say I was psyched is an understatement. How could this much yum go wrong?

The psyched-osity (is that a word?) grew when I took the cake from it’s pan and it looked ah-may-zing.  My brain almost exploded from adorable-osity.

I took pictures. I fell in love. I dreamed of running through field of flowers, hand in hand with this Circus Animal Ice Cream Cake, singing love songs and then sipping wine under a big oak tree.

Ice Cream Cake with Circus Animal Crust {Lightened Up} - Food Faith Fitness

And then…I cut into it.

Fun fact that I didn’t know: Coconut oil is the secret ingredient in “Magic Shell” that makes it freeze directly on contact with ice cream.

Yep.  My chocolate/coconut oil layer and the Circus Animal crust was harder than the hardest rock you could ever imagine. That might be an exaggeration.  But, it was HARD.

The crust and the middle layer didn’t cut pretty…at all. They cracked and made weird looking pieces with chunks sticking out all over the place. It reminded my of my hair when I wake up in the morning guys.

Ice Cream Cake with Circus Animal Crust {Lightened Up} - Food Faith Fitness

I might have cried a little. I lied.  It might have been a lot.

Picking myself up from my puddle of tears (I also may be a little over dramatic) I decided to take pictures of the sticky-outy cracked pieces anyway.  So, that is what you see here.

After much consideration, and talking to other bloggy friends, I decided to still post the pictures.  I’m being totally honest that it didn’t work and I have fails. And, you know what, I am ok with that.

Ice Cream Cake with Circus Animal Crust {Lightened Up} - Food Faith Fitness

The most important reason I decided to share this cake with you though? HOLY FLYING MONKEYS, THIS IS THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER EATEN.  I am seriously not exaggerating. For once.

The bits that had coconut oil were hard to eat….but every bite was worth it.  Mr. FFF and I face planted right into this.

Our stomachs don’t have eyes. They don’t care about weird sticky-outty bits.

Ice Cream Cake with Circus Animal Crust {Lightened Up} - Food Faith Fitness

Having told you this saga, I still wanted to give you a recipe that worked. However, making a whole other ice-cream cake just for 2 people is a little crazy.  Once you eat one whole ice cream cake between 2 people…you don’t really want another one ya know?

So, I redid parts of this recipe for ya’ll so that it actually works and cuts beautifully once you make it into a full cake. The recipe you see here is the actual, working recipe and it tastes FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC.  But, I decided to keep these pictures to show ya that I am a real person and I make mistakes. A lot.

So, let’s celebrate the birth of the cutest crackers known to man.

Ice Cream Cake with Circus Animal Crust {Lightened Up} - Food Faith Fitness

Even if you didn’t make pretend zoos with them.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Ice Cream Cake with Circus Animal Crust {Lightened Up}
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 10-12
  • For the crust:
  • 2 Cups Circus Animal Crumbs (about 2 heaping cups of full Circus Animals)
  • 2 Tbsp Butter, Melted
  • For the layers
  • 1 1.75 Quart Container of low fat vanilla ice cream (about 6 cups total)
  • 8 Oz White chocolate
  • 1 Tbsp Heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp Canola oil (or any very light flavored oil)
  • 1 Cup Circus animal crumbs
  • 1 8oz Package Light Cool Whip
  • Additional cool whip for decorating (optional)
  • Sprinkles for decorating (optional)
  1. To make the crust:
  2. Lightly spray a 9 inch spring form pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. In a large food processor, crush the Circus Animals until they make fine crumbs.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together the Circus Animal Crumbs and the melted butter and mix until the crumbs are well coated.
  5. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the spring form pan, making sure you pack them in nice and tight. Freeze for 24 hours.
  6. To prepare the layers:
  7. Thaw 3 1/2 cups of the ice cream until very soft, and spread over the frozen crust. Pop it back into the freezer until its firm.
  8. To make the Circus Animal Layer:
  9. Process an additional 1 cup of Circus Animals into crumbs using your food processor.
  10. In a large, microwave safe bowl, melt the chocolate at 20 second intervals on a half power setting, stiring between each interval, until smooth.
  11. Quickly stir in the heaving whipping cream, oil and the Circus animal crumbs. The mixture will turn very thick, almost like a ganache.
  12. Pour over the frozen ice cream layer, spreading quickly to avoid melting the underlying ice cream. Place back in freezer until firm and set.
  13. For the final layer:
  14. In a large bowl, thaw the rest of the ice cream until soft and then mix with the cool whip.
  15. Pour over the chocolate layer, making sure the top is nice and smooth. Refrigerate until completely firm and set, at least 4 hours - overnight.
  16. Decorate with more cool whip and sprinkles, if desired.
  17. DEVOUR *
* To serve: let it thaw on the counter for a couple of minutes before slicing, and use a VERY sharp and VERY hot knife to cut the slices, reheating the knife with hot water between each slice.

P.s It’s Good Friday. One of the most important days of the Christian Faith. Enjoy it and remember it’s reason! xoxo

Want more easy, frozen desserts?

Skinny Frozen Carrot Cake Cheesecake - Food Faith Fitness

Skinny Frozen Carrot Cake Cheesecake

Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispie Cheesecake Bars - Food Faith Fitness

Skinny Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispie Cheesecake Bars 

Strawberry Freeze - Food Faith Fitness

Strawberry Freeze 

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  1. says


    You’re outdone yourself here….this is just too cute.

    Was just at the zoo this week with the fam. Animal crackers- what a great idea.

    Cool whip happens to be a little guilty secret of mine. Beautiful presentation. Love these pics!!!

    • Taylor Kiser says

      I hate whipped cream but LOVE cool whip…so I understand! Thank you so much Laura! I hope you have a fab weekend! :)

  2. says

    Taylor, I honestly couldn’t even tell these were the sticky outy pics! I figured these must be ones you retook. They’re gorgeous and the colors are so fun! I adore animal crackers and love that you made them into a dessert adults and kiddos will love!

    • Taylor Kiser says

      Haha I will take that blame, because they are SO delicious! And, I am totally sending you some…it might be a little melty when you get it 😉

  3. says

    Oh my goodness…how FUN!! I LOVED circus animal cookies as a kid (who am I kidding, I still love them!), but never would have thought to use them for making a crust like this. This looks delicious!! :)

  4. says

    I’m so glad you decided to post this anyway because it is gorgeous and I’m sure it tastes just as wonderful as it looks! I think it’s so fun that you made something with circus animal crackers. :)

  5. says

    Sooooo purdy sure I am speak less. Not sure which part I am more excited about….the animal crackers (I still make sure every handful has a ‘full zoo’)…the ice cream (my fav) or that fact that it’s PINK!? You have completely won me over.

    And what is ever more weird and to prove that we are on the same wave length…I am shooting an ice cream cake today. WEIRD!

    • Taylor Kiser says

      So happy that I am not the only zoo builder! and I am so glad you like it girl!
      And yes, total brain twins!! :)

  6. says

    I am SO psyched about this! I found this cake on food gawker and I freaking LOVE those animal cookies. I wish it were my birthday tomorrow so I could make this. Maybe I’ll make up a a very un-birthday just as an excuse to make this divine looking cake. Yummy!

    • Taylor Kiser says

      Aren’t they THE BEST?! I think it’s your birthday tomorrow, I won’t tell anyone 😉
      Thanks Marybelle!

  7. Shashi @ RunninSrilankan says

    Your pictures of what you classify as imperfect are better than what I classify as perfect! This cake AND its coconut oil crust look fantastic! And remember you do have blends who would gladly help you demolish a 2nd or 3 rd ice cream cake so you nd Mr. FFF can rest your bellies …just saying 😉

  8. says

    Oh if you only knew all the photographs of sticking out pieces I’ve taken! I think the cake looks great and probably wouldn’t have eaten noticed them had you not mentioned it!!

    Yay for animal crackers! This ice cream cake is a beauty and a worthy celebration of them!

  9. says

    Taylor, you just crack me up. I was literally laughing throughout that entire story, mostly out of sympathy because I have those moments All.The.Time. in cooking — Just when you think everything’s going to be perfect, bam. You make that first cut. And I think this cake is freaking gorgeous. LOVE all the pink and the fact that you used animal crackers for the crust. Umm ok, totally genius!!! pinned! Have an awesome weekend, Taylor!

    • Taylor Kiser says

      I am SO glad that I am not alone…it’s so annoying when you are SO pumped about a recipe and then it’s all “whomp whomp whomp”
      Thank you Sarah! Happy Easter weekend pretty lady! :)

  10. says

    I was so excited to see this cake! Animal crackers are my guilty pleasure. I get so excited to put them on my frozen yogurt when we go out! If you hadn’t have mentioned the issue with the hardened cookies in the pictures, I hardly would have noticed. I want to dive into this cake hard cookies or not! Pinned!

  11. says

    This may just be one of the most amazing sites ever. This is brilliant…just brilliant, and I love how you shared the photos of your “oops.” Although, I would hardly call it an “oops.” The cake is still lovely, looks delicious and I want to dive right in. Once I get past my fear of making ice cream cake, this recipe is first on my list. Pinned!

    • Taylor Kiser says

      Get over the fear girl! They are so easy! And thank you for the kind words and pin! You’re the sweetest!

  12. says

    Haha thanks for sharing one of your “blogging fails” with us. I have them all the time!! This animal crust idea is genius. And who cares if it didn’t cut as pretty as you wanted… it’s all about taste… and this looks like it tastes incredible!! Plus, it still looks beautiful!

  13. says

    Girlfriend, you would be horrified if you saw my ‘fails’ – I think some of my nightmares are more tame! This, my dear, is totally not a fail! It’s 100% edible (total score!) and it looks GORGEOUS!!! Seriously now, awesomely amazing!!

    But I am sending major props for posting pics of something you weren’t pleased with. (But I really loved the line about how it looks like your hair in the morning! So cute!)

    I share that animal cookies guilty pleasure with you … shhhhh … let’s keep that secret between the two of us! I could literally eat the whole.entire.bag. I rarely even buy them for my kids because I know I’ll eat them all. I know … I’m awful! Don’t judge.

    • Taylor Kiser says

      Thank you so much Gretchen! The pictures actually make it look a lot better than it cut, I swear it was the most hideous thing ever!
      Haha don’t worry your secret is safe with me, no judging – I could eat the whole back too girlfriend! No shame 😀

  14. says

    I’m stopping over from Buns in my Oven. This cake is SUPER cute. And it’s nice to hear about other bloggers’ food fails. Makes me feel better when I have them :) Pinning this to share for sure!

    • Taylor Kiser says

      Ohh hopefully you have enough left…you can always go buy more 😉 They’re definitely not hard leftovers to eat! Thank you so much for your sweet words and stopping by Andi!

  15. says

    I haven’t had ice-cream cake in such a long time! (When I was little my mom used to get an ice-cream cake for my birthdays at Dairy Queen; I always saved the oreo filling for last!) I always thought it would be hard to make, but this recipe makes it seem easy!

  16. says

    I don’t mind sticky out bits either. And I love that you remade the crust and shared the recipe!!! This would be adorable for my girl’s birthday cake…since they always want ice cream cakes!!!

  17. says

    I looooooooved those animal crackers as a kid. We used to have them backstage during our dance recitals in early elementary school, and I’ll admit, it was probably one of the best parts of the day. The cake looks fabulous – I’m definitely bookmarking this for later!

    • Taylor Kiser says

      HAHA! That is awesome….I wish I could have done that, but we didn’t have these in Canada! :(
      Thanks so much Julie!

  18. says

    I love that you posted your photos, which by the way, are fabulous!! What a fantastic idea for a crust!! I had one of those days a while back ago. I still proceeded on with my recipe, took pics, posted it, and now it is one of my favorites. I also told the whole story on my blog.

    • Taylor Kiser says

      Thanks so much Jaren! This is actually my favorite recipe too, it’s so funny how that happens eh?@

  19. says

    Looks fantastic! I would love it if you joined and contribute your awesome posts at my link party at City of Creative Dreams, starts on Fridays 😀 Hope to see you there at City of Creative Dreams Link Party.

  20. says

    So I’m SUPER late to the party, but this cake looks uh-mazing.

    And don’t think you’re the only one to cry over food flops. I have many times. And over foodie photos that turned out bad–ha. Just means it’s really important to us, right??

    • Taylor Kiser says

      Oh gosh, I totally feel you on the photos! I always worry about them! But, totally, just important :) Thanks Amanda!

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