Valentine’s Day Cupcakes for Your Sweetheart – Shirley Temple Cupcakes

Valentine’s Day Cupcakes for Your Sweetheart – Shirley Temple Cupcakes

cupcakes, cream cheese frosting, drink-based, grenadine, holiday, Valentine's Day
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Shirley Temple CupcakeThese Valentine’s Day cupcakes happened somewhat by accident.

When Kristen of Bakesweet contacted me about a recipe for cupcakes with grenadine, the first thing that came to mind was making a Shirley Temple cupcake. Since Valentine’s Day is almost here and grenadine is red, this also makes for a perfect Valentine’s Day cupcake!

This post has three main sections: About Shirley Temple, a Shirley Temple Drink Recipe, and a Shirley Temple Cupcake Recipe.

About Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple was America’s sweetheart. She was particularly well-known for two of her trademark songs, “On the Good Ship Lollipop,” and “Animal Crackers in My Soup.” According to the Wikipedia article on Shirley Temple:

“In 1936, Temple was paid an unprecedented amount of money for her work on Poor Little Rich Girl: $15,000 per week. It was during this period, in the depth of the Depression, when her films were seen as bringing hope and optimism, that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt is reported to have proclaimed that ‘as long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right.'”

A little known fact about me is that as a child, random strangers and my grandparents would call me Shirley Temple.

Shirley’s the first picture. I’m the second one. Do you see a resemblance?

The way I see it:

Our Differences

  • Her eyes are bigger.
  • My cheeks are bigger.

Our Similarities

  • We both have curls.
  • President Franklin Delano Roosevelt is reported to have proclaimed that, “as long as our country has Shirley Temple, we will be all right,” and my mama is reported to have proclaimed that, “as long as our family has Stef, we will be all right.”

Shirley Temple Drink Recipe

Shirley Temple is a drink known as a kiddie cocktail. Shirley Temples are drinks that kids can order at a bar and feel all grown up. They make me think about the many Bar and Bat Mitzvahs I attended in the 80’s. They were definitely the young teen drink of choice.

To make a Shirley Temple:

1. Put some ice in a glass.
2. Fill the glass 3/4 full with lemon-lime soda or ginger ale.
3. Top it off with grenadine. (I strongly recommend using homemade grenadine.)
4. Garnish with a cherry and/or some orange.

Little Known Fact About Shirley Temple the Drink

According to Wikipedia, “When Temple herself is asked for her opinion of these drinks named for her, she invariably replies that she dislikes them because they are too sweet, and that she does not gain earnings for the use of her name.”

Shirley Temple Cupcakes

Shirley Temple cupcakes are perfect Valentine’s Day cupcakes for your child sweetheart or really for anyone.

They taste so much like the drink that when offered a Shirley Temple drink with his cupcake, Groom 2.0 couldn’t finish the drink: “I feel like I’ve already had one.”

The cupcakes were a big hit with all tasters. They were drenched in grenadine, which made them a bit messy, but also moist and satisfying.

Shirley Temple Cupcake Recipe

These were a Cupcake Project original recipe. However, some credit is due to Bittersweet Blog. I used the Rootbeer Float Cupcake recipe from there as a starting point for this one.

Valentine’s Day Cupcakes for Your Sweetheart – Shirley Temple Cupcakes

Yield: 24 cupcakes

Valentine’s Day Cupcakes for Your Sweetheart – Shirley Temple Cupcakes


    Cupcake Ingredients
  • 1 C Lemon-Lime Soda (I used Izze Sparkling Limon, but 7-Up or Sprite would be fine.)
  • 1 C Grenadine (I used homemade grenadine.)
  • 2 t Honey Vinegar (I happened to have this on hand. Apple cider vinegar would also work.)
  • 1.5 C Sugar
  • 2/3 C Canola Oil
  • 2 2/3 C Flour
  • 1.5 t Baking Soda
  • 1 t Baking Powder
  • Lemon-lime cream cheese frosting Ingredients (the heart on the cupcake)
  • 1/4 C butter
  • 1 8oz package of cream cheese (I used Neufchâtel - a lighter cream cheese - and was very happy with the results.)
  • 4 C powdered sugar
  • 1/8 t lemon extract
  • 1/8 t lime extract
  • Concentrated Grenadine Ingredients (the inside of the heart)
  • Grenadine
  • Powdered sugar
  • Red food coloring (optional)


    Cupcake Instructions
  1. Combine soda, grenadine, and vinegar and let stand for a few minutes. Add sugar and oil and whisk vigorously until slightly frothy. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Add flour mixture to the first bowl. Be careful not to over-mix.
  2. Fill cupcake liners about 1/2 way. They will rise a lot! Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
  3. Lemon-lime cream cheese frosting Instructions
  4. Make sure butter and cream cheese are at room temperature. Cream the butter and cream cheese. Sift in 4 C of powdered sugar. Add extracts.
  5. Concentrated Grenadine Instructions
  6. Mix equal parts of grenadine and powdered sugar to make the grenadine more of a syrup, less runny. If the sugar isn't dissolving in the grenadine, you may need to heat it on the stove on low heat until it dissolves. Add a few drops of red food coloring to the homemade grenadine if you want the hearts to be a deeper red.
  7. Pour the grenadine syrup into the heart. The frosting will act as a wall keeping the syrup within the boundary of the heart. Because the cupcake is porous, the syrup will seep through into the cupcake. This is what makes the cupcake so yummy! As the syrup seeps in, add more. I added 3 or 4 layers of grenadine to mine. Eventually, you should be left with the center of your heart dyed red.


Where to Buy Heart Sprinkles

I bought the heart sprinkles at Shop Bakers Nook.

Lessons Learned

1. On my first attempt at creating this recipe, I used lemon and lime extracts in the cake. The entire cake tasted like lemon and lime and the grenadine flavor couldn’t be tasted at all. In the future when I make my own recipes, I am going to add the extracts at the end, once I know what the flavor is without the extract and I can taste what is needed.

2. I learned this lesson a long time ago, but I was reminded yet again that I should follow this rule. On a new cupcake, always bake one test cupcake to see how much the cupcake will rise before filling all the liners.

Suggestions for Variations

1. The drink has a cherry on top. Cupcakes often have a cherry on top. If you make this and cherries are in season by you, go for it!

2. There is a lesser known kiddie cocktail known as the Roy Rogers which is made from Coke and Grenadine. A Roy Rogers cupcake would also be tasty. Simply replace the lemon-lime soda in the cake with Coke and use cola extract in the frosting instead of the lemon and lime extracts.

3. Be sure to check out Kristen’s take on this at Bakesweet.

Final Note

This post is part of the Heart for Your Valentine blog event.

Love it? Share it!

19 comments on “Valentine’s Day Cupcakes for Your Sweetheart – Shirley Temple Cupcakes”

  1. Kristen says:

    Oh! I’m jealous of how great yours look! LOL I ran into the same problem with the lemon/lime overpowering the cake. But, despite my usual aversion to citrus, I totally love them. Odd.

    Thanks for doing this with me. It’s my first time for blogging with someone else. :)

  2. Stef says:

    No problem! It was fun!

  3. KimberleyC says:

    Sounds really yummy!

  4. Nancy says:

    Definitely made my day! I didn’t share.

  5. jezebel says:

    oh good god i need to make these.

  6. zorra says:

    The resemblance is stunning!
    Thank you for all the information about Shirley and the wonderful cupcake recipe!

  7. OK- gorgeous cupcakes aside…
    ohmygawd! you were the cutest damn kid. I can’t believe you haven’t started procreating yet!! Just seeing that picture makes me want to knock you up. really. you are so damn cute!

  8. Gigi says:

    Adorable cupcakes and photos!

  9. Stef says:

    Thanks everyone!

    Tempered – Hahaha. My husband and I both laughed so hard when we read that. There will be a little cupcake lover at some point. Don’t you worry.

  10. ironstef says:

    stinkin adorable, lil shirley!

    Those were my drank at family nights at Red Lobster when I was a kid. It was my favorite part, besides popcorn shrimp!

  11. Kimberly says:

    I had the good fortune of sampling the Shirley Temple cupcake … it was yummy! Thanks, Stef!

  12. Karen says:

    Oh my gosh, you’re just way too cute!

  13. can’t wit to try the shirley temple cupcakes, shirley temple!!!!

  14. Stef says:

    Scoop – You could make a Shirley Temple ice cream. That would be yummy!

  15. Hey Stef,

    I was thinking the SAME thing — I’ll let you know how it goes! In the meantime, i made your cupcakes — BIG BIG hit!

  16. Karen says:

    I just tired these… they kinda sunk in the middle so maybe I overmixed. The cake itself tastes great though, so I can’t wait to add the frosting.

  17. Stef says:

    Karen – Mine sunk when I overfilled them. Maybe that was the problem? Did you add the grenadine syrup yet? That’s the best part!

  18. Sophie says:

    aww, you were such a cute little girl! Sigh, I know I said I’d make the little cup-pies, but, sadly, I don’t have enough butter! I will get back to you on these, though, they are too cute to pass-up. Oh, and about the recipe cards-they are actually from Key Ingredient; they’re made available to all members. You should sign up, it’s free! In fact, I’m their blogger in chief and I’d love to feature some of your recipes on the KI blog after you sign up. Just let me know! Nice meetin’ U!:)

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