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Shirley Temple Cupcakes

This is my second time making Shirley Temple cupcakes.  I first made Shirley Temple cupcakes in 2008Bride 4.0 recalled them as one of her favorites so she requested that I make them again for consideration as a wedding cupcake.  There was just one problem with that plan – I didn’t like them.  Most of you know my rule: I refuse to make cupcakes that I don’t like.

The key problem with the original Shirley Temple cupcakes was that they were a sloppy mess. They derived their Shirley Temple flavor from being drenched in a grenadine syrup – you almost needed a spoon to eat them.  I had scary visions of Bride 4.0’s white dress covered in red sticky syrup:

Photo from [UtaArashi|]

No, no.  This would not do.  But, since Bride 4.0 liked the idea of a Shirley Temple cupcake, I decided to create an alternate version.

I liked my new version of Shirley Temple cupcakes better than the first one (the jury is still out on Bride 4.0’s opinion; she’s going to try them tonight).  The cake is sweet and moist and because of the high sugar content, the top is slightly caramelized.  I opted to leave the lemon out of the cake entirely so that it wouldn’t overpower the grenadine flavor.  Instead, I put a touch of lemon extract alongside some grenadine in the glaze.  I topped the cupcakes with the iconic maraschino cherry.

About the Cherry

When Groom 2.0 saw the cherry on top, he paused, looked up at me quizzically, and inquired, “Is that a maraschino cherry – like from the store?”  Somewhat embarrassed, I had to say yes; and in the name of honesty, I had to admit that I had also used food coloring in these cupcakes.  I explained that while in the past I had made homemade maraschino cherries, I felt that store-bought ones would be easier and look better for a wedding.  The same applied to the food coloring; before adding the food coloring, the glaze was the color of chicken skin – totally unappealing for a wedding cupcake display.

Shirley Temple Cupcake Recipe

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5 from 1 vote

Shirley Temple Cupcakes

The cake is sweet and moist and because of the high sugar content, the top is slightly caramelized. I topped the cupcakes with the iconic maraschino cherry.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword Shirley Temple cupcake recipe, Shirley Temple cupcakes, Shirley Temple glaze
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 12 cupcakes
Calories 375kcal
Author Stef


Cupcake Ingredients

  • 2 C flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 C unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2/3 C sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 C milk
  • 1 1/2 C grenadine I recommend using homemade grenadine.

Shirley Temple Glaze Ingredients

  • 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp grenadine I recommend using homemade grenadine.
  • 1/4 tsp lemon extract
  • red food coloring optional
  • maraschino cherries optional


Cupcake Instructions

  • In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
  • In another medium-sized bowl, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Beat eggs, milk, and grenadine into the butter/sugar mixture until blended.
  • Fold in flour mixture.
  • Fill cupcake liners all the way to the top.
  • Bake at 350 F for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the cupcake clean.

Shirley Temple Glaze Instructions

  • Mix powdered sugar, grenadine, and lemon extract.
  • Optionally add red food coloring a few drops at a time until you love the color.
  • Spread on cooled cupcakes.
  • Optionally, just before serving, top cupcakes with maraschino cherries.


Nutrition Facts
Shirley Temple Cupcakes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 375 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Fat 12g18%
Saturated Fat 7g35%
Cholesterol 59mg20%
Sodium 83mg3%
Potassium 128mg4%
Carbohydrates 61g20%
Sugar 36g40%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 415IU8%
Calcium 55mg6%
Iron 1.2mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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12 comments on “Shirley Temple Cupcakes”

  1. my cousin and i are obsessed with shirley temples! thanks for sharing :)

  2. Ivysays:

    Love your rule-never make something you don’t like.

    And that quote from the groom-to-be is so, so funny!If I had a quote hall of fame, that one would make it in for sure. :)

  3. I like this alternate version of the cupcakes that you made earlier! Thanks for sharing the recipe, I might try this soon; I think they’re really nice to sell in a cupcake shop :)

  4. tootiesays:

    How fun!! And this is my favorite drink, so I’m sure it’s an awesome cupcake. Can’t wait to try it!

  5. Has anyone actually made these cupcakes? I just put them in the oven(about 23 cupcakes) and it’s the weirdest batter I’ve ever worked with… I’ll let you know how they turn out. Delicious batter though. :)

  6. Katiesays:

    I just made these and they were awful :( the cakes looked like they had leprosy and then sank as they cooled. I can’t get the glaze/frosting to stay on them either :/ They also had a weird texture.

  7. Stefsays:

    Katie – I’m so sorry to hear that!

    Victoria – How did yours turn out?

    I’m wondering if the fact that I used homemade grenadine made the difference. The sugar content might be too different from store-bought. If anyone else had tried these, please let me know how they turned out for you.

  8. Anonymoussays:

    What kind of flour do you use in your recipes?

  9. Stefsays:

    Anon – Unless I say otherwise, it’s all-purpose.

  10. Kelly Josays:

    Sadly, these didn’t work at all for me with store bought grenadine. I agree with the poster above, this was a very bizarre batter. It didn’t seem to want to combine very well and was super liquidy. The cakes themselves were way too sweet and greasy, probably from the store bought grenadine. They were edible but not good– I ended up tossing them. So sad!

    I do like the concept though! I’m going to have to retry with homemade grenadine. I think that is very likely the difference maker!

  11. Hi Stef! I really liked this recipe. I agree with the other posts. It’s a weird batter. I thought I did something wrong but they came out average. However, mine actually rose in the oven. I filled them up to the top and they overflowed! My family isn’t as picky as I am about cupcakes, so I hope they like them!

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