Shirley Temple Cupcakes


I can’t remember the first time that I ever had a Shirley Temple, but I DO remember begging my dad to order me one during the rare occasions we would go out to dinner when I was a kid.  To me, they seemed so magical.  Now that I’m (almost?) a grown-up, this drink holds for me the nostalgia of childhood-complete with a cherry on top.  In fact, a few weeks ago when I went over to my friend Kelli’s house for some quality “girl time” to chat with some of my dearest friends, this is the drink that she offered to me when I walked into her kitchen.  I was a bit surprised, to say the least, but it was a very pleasant one.  We all giggled like we were kids again, asked for extra cherries, and talked about how we all loved Shirley Temples as children.

So, it was completely ironic that the next day I stumbled upon this recipe and knew that I had to make it (By the way, the original recipe is gluten-free if you are interested).  What’s more to love than a light and fluffy cupcake with a little bit of cherry flavor and a fluffy pink buttercream frosting?  I adapted the flavorings a little to add more of a cherry taste in the way of almond extract, and I used Cherry 7-Up to add a little more cherry flavor as well.  I stayed true to the original red cupcake batter on the bottom of the cupcake liner-it was my favorite part about the cupcakes when I saw them in the first place, but I don’t think it’s necessary if you are short on time.

The most fun part about making these cupcakes?  I had won a raffle drawing for a free photo shoot from hbphotography a few months before, and I had no idea of how I was going to use it.  I thought about giving it to my sister (who has small children), but she recently had their photos taken professionally.  Since I was getting ready to move and figured I might as well use the photo session to capture me, my dog, and my cats (much to the comedic relief of my family who lovingly refer to me as a “crazy cat/dog lady”), I got in touch with Becky and told her that I had a little food blog-and her wheels started turning.  She ended up coming over at 7am (to get the best natural lighting in the kitchen) as I piped these cupcakes to get some “action shots” of me in the kitchen.  I loved the way her pictures looked!

Here’s to Shirley Temples!

Shirley Temple Cupcakes

Servings: 12 cupcakes


For the cupcakes:

1 and 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup Cherry 7-Up, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice

Red food coloring

For the Buttercream frosting:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Pinch salt

2 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice

For garnish:

12 maraschino cherries with stems


1. For the cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a cupcake pan with your desired paper liners.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together 1 and 1/2 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

3. In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar together and beat, on medium-high speed, until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

5. Reduce the mixer speed to low, and alternate adding half of the flour mixture and half of the Cherry 7-Up, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Repeat until the flour and Cherry 7-Up are completely added to the batter.

6. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, mixing well.

7.  Place about 3/4 cup of the cupcake batter in a separate small bowl and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour, maraschino cherry juice, and red food coloring (to your desired tint).

8. Evenly distribute the red cupcake batter among your prepared liners, about 1-2 teaspoons per cupcake, gently smoothing out the batter to make sure it is flat.

9. Once the red batter is in place, evenly distribute the remaining cupcake batter among the cupcake liners, making sure not to mix the two batters.

10. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let cool completely before frosting.

11. For the Buttercream Frosting: In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

12. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the pinch of salt, powdered (confectioners’) sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, lemon juice, and maraschino cherry juice, adding more powdered sugar as necessary for your desired piping consistency.

13.  Pipe as desired onto your cooled cupcakes and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Source:  Slightly adapted from Simply Gluten Free.

Photo by hbphotography


June 26, 2011 - 8:51 am

Annie - Loooove these! And love you – so super cute.

June 26, 2011 - 10:25 am

Blog is the New Black - Shannon, you are a genius! So fun!

June 26, 2011 - 10:31 am

srlacy - Oh, no way, Liz 🙂 …the creator over at Simply Gluten Free is. I saw her idea and knew I had to try it for myself…I claim no extra creativity on this one. 🙂

June 26, 2011 - 12:43 pm

Kristina - These SOUND fantastic, these look fantastic, you look fantastic, and the photographs by hbphotography look fantastic (no excuse for Tastespotting not to post THESE by golly! they are by professionals!). Bravo!

June 26, 2011 - 2:15 pm

one fine fork - These cupcakes look delicious! Equally as delicious is the nostalgic feeling of ordering Shirley Temples as a kid. Anything that had a cherry speared on a plastic toothpick just had to to make me look more grown up!

June 26, 2011 - 9:31 pm

Vanessa - Gosh I haven’t had a shirley temple in ages. These cupcakes look delicious!! Great idea!

June 26, 2011 - 11:44 pm

Paula at Dishing The Divine - these are so adorable! (and so are you holding all of them!) My mom loved shirley temples growing up so I sent her this recipe and her response was, “I don’t remember ever having a shirley temple.” Hmph. I may have to make her these just to jog her memory!

June 27, 2011 - 2:28 am

lyne - I love shirley temples! I bet they taste even better in cupcake form!

June 27, 2011 - 2:36 pm

Jenn - These are AMAZING!!! I can’t wait to try them!! 🙂

June 27, 2011 - 3:55 pm

natalie (the sweets life) - such a great picture of you!

love shirley temples, they were a childhood staple! can’t wait to make these!

June 27, 2011 - 4:43 pm

Katy - I want these!!! And you look great! 🙂

June 27, 2011 - 6:35 pm

Happy When Not Hungry - Wow these cupcakes look beautiful! What a creative recipe. I haven’t had a Shirley Temple probably since I was before 21!!!!

June 30, 2011 - 9:47 am

Becky - It was a BLAST hanging with you in the kitchen, Shanon! You are so sweet! And I’m telling you all, these cupcakes were to die for delicious 🙂

August 12, 2011 - 3:25 pm

Angela @ The Dancer Bakes - I bookmarked these as soon as you posted them and I finally made them today! Don’t get to enjoy them till tomorrow, but I did sneak tastes of the two batters and I am one happy camper 🙂 My fiancé loves Shirley Temples, so I think he’ll love these 🙂

August 17, 2011 - 1:01 am

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October 16, 2011 - 4:10 am

Kaela Wells - These look so good. I wonder what it would taste like if the maraschino cherry juice were swapped with grenadine since sometimes Shirley Temples are made with that. Thanks for the recipe!

I love to treat myself with a nice Shirley Temple.

November 5, 2011 - 11:51 am
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January 13, 2012 - 2:06 am

Debbie - These are the cutest!! A friend and I had lunch today and we ordered Shirley Temples…I have the same love for them from my childhood! Thanks for the recipe. I’m totally going to make them. 🙂

January 29, 2012 - 11:14 pm
February 17, 2012 - 12:46 am

Jess - I tried to make these, first time ever making my own and they didn’t turn our right 🙁 The icing did though! I used all natural whole wheat flour, not all purpose, I didn’t know there was a difference and I think that’s what ruined them. You can taste the flour and they aren’t very sweet. Also, does not using the eggs, 7 up and butter at room temp have an effect? I also used tub butter and not stick. I plan on trying to make them again as they otherwise turned out so I’m going to get what I need tomorrow and try again.

February 17, 2012 - 8:36 am

srlacy - Hi Jess-

Tweaking or substituting any one of those things will have a major impact on both the texture and flavor of the recipe.

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Evelyn Blakeman - A-mazing

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April 30, 2013 - 3:48 pm

Stephanie - Hi there,
I’m making these for my daughter’s Shirley Temple birthday party. Can you tell me how much red food coloring you used for yours? All I’m getting is pink…

April 30, 2013 - 4:51 pm

srlacy - Hi Stephanie-

It may have to do with what type of food coloring you are using. I used Wilton’s color gel (wit whatever red color comes in the standard kit), and it did the trick, but I did end up having to use quite a bit of the little container that I had in order to get the bright red tint. A liquid-based food color will probably end up being a lot lighter for you (but I bet the pink might actually look cute, too!)

May 10, 2013 - 5:03 pm

Stephanie - Thank you! The gel worked much better!! I am frosting these tonight for my daughter’s party tomorrow. Do you think it would be better to go ahead and garnish w/ the cherry or should I wait till tomorrow instead? Thoughts? Thanks Again 😉

May 11, 2013 - 9:11 am

srlacy - Hi Stephanie-

I would wait to garnish with the cherry-the juices might run a bit and get a little gooey on top of the cupcakes. Happy birthday to your daughter! I hope you have a wonderful party!

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