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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


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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