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Shirley Temple Cupcakes

These cupcakes are not too sweet and filled with the cherry flavor you love from a Shirley Temple cocktail! Try my Jack and Coke cupcakes next.

Shirley Temple cupcakes topped with a cherry

Recently, a coworker and I were discussing how much we enjoy Shirley Temples. I don’t need alcohol for a drink to be tasty – in fact, if I know it doesn’t have alcohol in it I feel no guilt in drinking an entire pitcher of some things (cough cough, Sonic’s Cherry Limeade, cough cough).

Mind you, I know I probably should… but I don’t.

Shirley Temple cupcakes topped with a cherry

Anyway. We were talking about how freaking delicious Shirley Temples are, and how I have no qualms about ordering them as a woman of almost 30. I don’t need to be with a group of children to justify it.

I don’t need to make excuses for why I’m not ordering a beer instead. I can ask for a Shirley Temple with extra cherries and still feel like an adult. And then I go jump in a ball pit and play hide and seek while avoiding boys with cooties and my day is complete.

What our conversation made me realize is that while I’m perfectly content buying multiple 2-liter bottles of 7Up, BJ’s-sized bottles of grenadine and palettes of maraschino cherries… I should probably branch out.

Shirley Temple cupcakes topped with a cherry

And what better way to branch out than to turn one of my favorite drinks into a dessert! This is certainly not the first time I’ve done that.

I remembered these 7Up cupcakes I had made a long time ago, but I didn’t even blog about it because I used a boxed mix (cue gasp) and a bottle of 7Up. It really wasn’t anything to write home about, so I didn’t bother.

I knew I could do something similar, but with “from scratch” ingredients this time around. I ended up with a basic vanilla cupcake with a few additions of 7Up, grenadine and cherry juice. And of course topped with a maraschino cherry, because it wouldn’t be complete without it.

I mean, c’mon – would I accept a Shirley Temple without one? Psh – I wouldn’t even accept a Shirley Temple without six.

Shirley Temple cupcakes topped with a cherry

What I really wanted to do was tint half the batter red and swirl it so that it would be this pretty, swirly cupcake. I failed at that – the ones that had more swirl didn’t even look all that great, so I’m going to have to work on that.

What I ended up with was a very thin layer of pinkish-red batter on the bottom, and vanilla on top. It still works – it’s just not what I was going for.

Next time I think I’ll pipe the batter side by side in a piping bag and squeeze it into each cup so that there’s an even mix of both colors. Live and learn.

I brought these to a party this weekend and people said they loved them. My friend Val of The Slacker Gourmet even helped me out by grabbing some pictures (one of them is below) – I ran out of time before I left for the party and didn’t grab any pictures and it stressed me out.

Which made me want to bake more. But I didn’t have time to take pictures or bake, so that really stressed me out.

Shirley Temple cupcakes topped with a cherry

Eventually my stress just piles up in a ball in my chest and I just need to cuddle with a puppy to make it go away. Thankfully, this party had four puppies (including my own).

I won’t go into detail about the night because it would just be a bunch of words like “fluffy” and “adorable” typed in all caps, but sweet Jesus having a pile of dogs makes everything better.

But in lieu of a pile of puppies, I recommend making these cupcakes. They’re not too sweet and while they don’t taste like the cupcake incarnate of a Shirley Temple, they are certainly reminiscent of them and give you a good reason to use the juice left in your jar of maraschino cherries instead of pouring it down the drain. Which I’m sure you would never do.

And if you ever find yourself about to do that, just mail the bottle to me and I promise you I will use it. Yes, I’m weird. No, I don’t care. Now go make these cupcakes. Seriously, get out of here. GO!

After you’ve made this recipe, please leave a comment below with a rating – and if you came from Pinterest, add a photo to the Pin of what you make to the pin to share your experience!

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Shirley Temple Cupcakes

  • Author: Leslie Kiszka
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 1215 cupcakes 1x


These cupcakes are not too sweet and filled with the cherry flavor you love from a Shirley Temple cocktail!




  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup Sprite or 7Up
  • 1 tablespoon grenadine
  • 1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice
  • Red food coloring


  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon grenadine
  • 1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice
  • 13 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 12 maraschino cherries, patted dry with paper towels



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with 12 liners (more on another pan if needed) and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and beat well.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together 1 3/4 flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt – set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together Sprite/7Up and sour cream. 
  5. Add half of flour mixture to butter mixture, beating well. Add soda mixture, beat well, and then add the rest of the flour mixture. Beat until well combined.
  6. Pour 1 cup of batter into a small bowl and add 1/4 cup flour, cherry juice and grenadine. Mix well with a whisk. Add red food coloring a drop at a time until desired color is reached. 
  7. Add a tablespoon of colored batter mix to the bottom of each cupcake liner, spreading so that the batter is leveled. Using a 1/4 measuring cup, pour the remaining batter on top of the colored batter to fill cups 3/4 full. Instead of leaving the colors separate, you could also use a toothpick to swirl the batter.
  8. Bake for 17-20 minutes until the tops of the cupcakes are set and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for a couple minutes and then move to wire rack (aff link) to cool completely.


  1. Pat 12 (or more, if you made more than 12 cupcakes) maraschino cherries with a paper towel, set aside. Try not to eat them.
  2. In a large bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy.
  3. Add powdered sugar and beat on medium high speed until well combined.
  4. Add vanilla, grenadine, and cherry juice and beat well. Add heavy cream one tablespoon at a time until desired consistency is reached. 
  5. Fit a piping bag with desired frosting tip and fill with frosting. Pipe on cupcakes and top each cupcake with a maraschino cherry. Serve and enjoy!
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: shirley temple cupcakes

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Cake Delivery in Varanasi

Monday 16th of October 2017

What nice creation it was. thanks for posting it here.


Wednesday 18th of February 2015

I do it more often than I should probably admit ;)

Channing C

Tuesday 17th of February 2015

I remember the reason I would ask for a Shirley Temple when I was little, is because I wanted to feel like an adult, but they do actually taste pretty good. I would order one now as an adult and not feel shame at all either! :)

Val D'Aquila

Monday 7th of April 2014

So, this is interesting... I grew up with Shirley Temples made with ginger ale, not 7Up! I just asked Kevin, and he said Sprite, further confusing this issue.

Clearly we need to go out and get drunk on Shirley Temples at lunch. For comparison purposes, of course.

(The cupcakes were awesome, but I expect nothing less from you!)

Leslie Haasch

Monday 7th of April 2014

Ginger ale, hmm? Well, I suppose I'll just have to try to make these again with ginger ale instead (and maybe not suck at the batter swirls this time around).

Also, drunk on Shirley Temples at lunch as well. For research. Obviously.

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