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Shirley Temple Cherry Cupcakes

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

These cherry cupcakes are inspired by the classic Shirley Temple. They are so fluffy and filled with that wonderful cherry flavor, plus they start with a box cake mix so they are super quick and easy.

4 Shirley Temple cherry cupcakes on a cake plate stand

The drink was named after iconic child actress Shirley Temple. A Shirley Temple is a non-alcoholic mixed drink traditionally made with ginger ale and a splash of grenadine, garnished with a maraschino cherry. This recipe takes that same flavor profile, but makes it into a tender light cupcake.


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What We Love About This Shirley Temple Recipe

Cherry cupcakes are so fun and when you add the soda and decorate them cute, they are perfect for a child’s party or game night at the house, or a hit at your next bridge party.

  • 30 Minute Dessert: This recipe does not take very long but you get such a unique cupcake recipe.
  • Easy Ingredients: All found in pantry or fridge and it really is so simple.
  • Family Friendly: These cupcakes are so cute. Who can resist their sweet flavor?
2 Shirley Temple cherry cupcakes on plates next to a cup of coffee on a cloth

Ingredient Notes:

Really, you will use all the basic ingredients for a cake with the exception of a few things.

  • White Cake Mix: Use any variety that you like for this unique cupcake recipe.
  • Shirley Temple Soda: If you can not find this variety in the store, use cherry 7 up or another cherry soda.
  • Cherry Jello: Starburst Brand Jello was used for this Shirley Temple Cake.
ingredients needed to make Shirley Temple cherry cupcakes

Equipment Needed

How to Make Shirley Temple Recipe

These are the basic steps for making Shirley Temple recipe. Please refer to the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.

STEP 1: PREPARE PAN AND OVEN

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray or line a standard cupcake tin, then add cake mix to a large mixing bowl. Using a mixer, add in your oil, egg whites, and soda, and mix on medium until well incorporated. Mix in *1/2-3/4 of the jello.

a collage of 4 images showing the steps to make Shirley Temple cherry cupcake batter

STEP 2: BAKE

Then add batter into the muffin tin until each is about 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

STEP 3: FROSTING

Begin with a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter, and cream cheese, and beat until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Second, mix in the vanilla extract and salt, and then mix the half and half or milk and Shirley Temple soda together. Lastly, mix in the remaining jello.

a collage of four images showing the steps needed to make the frosting for the Shirley Temple cherry cupcakes

STEP 4: FINISH

Slowly mix in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, while adding a bit of the liquid mixture from the step above in between each cup. Continue to mix for 1-2 minutes or until creamy and forms stiff peaks, but don’t overmix! Add in food coloring if desired. Start with 1-2 drops and mix. Continue until color is achieved.

a collage of 2 images showing how to frost the Shirley Temple cherry cupcakes

STEP 5: DECORATE

Finally, fill a piping bag and pipe on the frosting and finish with a cute straw and sprinkles.

Prep and Storage Tips

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE AHEAD OF TIME

You can bake cupcakes up to two days ahead; arrange them (unfrosted) on a baking sheet, wrap the whole sheet with plastic wrap and store at room temperature. Frost before serving. To freeze, arrange unfrosted cupcakes on a baking sheet and wrap the whole sheet in plastic wrap, then in foil or alternatively use an airtight container. Freeze up to three months.

HOW TO STORE THIS RECIPE

Always keep them in an airtight container or wrapped well to prevent contamination and to prevent air from drying them out. Then they must be refrigerated for food safety.

HOW TO FREEZE THIS RECIPE

Airtight containers or wrapped well cupcakes can be frozen for up to three months.

Frequently Asked Questions about Cherry Cupcake

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE GLUTEN FREE?

A gluten free cake mix can be used for this recipe.

CAN I SUBSTITUTE A DIFFERENT SODA?

Of course, if Shirley Temple soda is not available near you, try a cherry 7 up or other cherry flavored soda. A soda with a cherry cola is called a Roy Rogers.

WHAT DOES SODA DO TO CUPCAKES?

The carbon dioxide bubbles in soda pop act as a leavening agent. Therefore, it makes cupcakes rise and makes them light and fluffy.

SUBSTITUTE GRENADINE FOR THE SODA?

Grenadine is a fruit syrup that is deep red in color. It is safe to enjoy on a gluten-free diet and can replace the soda in this recipe, however, you will not get the light fluffiness that the soda gives. What is grenadine? Find out here.

4 Shirley Temple cherry cupcakes on a cake plate stand with 2 more cupcakes and a cup of coffee in front of it

Expert Tips for Making This Shirley Temple Recipes

  • This Recipe Can be Doubled: A great recipe for a crowd.  Simply increase the ingredients proportionately and split it into two cupcake pans.
  • Zest: Enhances the cake, add lemon or lime or a little of both.
  • Add Sprinkles: Fun red sprinkles on top would be adorable.
  • Cherry: Put a cherry on top of the cupcakes.
  • Variation tip: Mini cupcakes can be made with this recipe as well. They are cute little bites.
  • Addition: Fill the center of your cupcakes with a little cherry pie filing.
  • Liners: Use a cute little liner to enhance the look of your cupcakes.
  • Icing: We found some jello flavors in the frosting can be punchy. A straw poll told us kids like this, but some adults didn’t. So, we suggest for kids to use ½ the jello in the mixes and ½ in the frosting. For adults, use ¾ of the jello in the mixes and ¼ in the frosting. This has worked beautifully!

Did you try this recipe?
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Shirley Temple Cherry Cupcakes

5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Servings: 24 cupcakes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 cake mix white
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 ¼-1 ¾ cups Shirley Temple soda
  • Cherry Jello divided
  • Frosting Ingredients
  • 2 sticks salted butter softened
  • ½ cup cream cheese softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon half and half or whole milk not pictured
  • 2 tablespoons Shirley Temple soda
  • Cherry Jello divided
  • Red food coloring optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray or line a standard muffin tin.
  • Add cake mix to a large mixing bowl. Using a hand or stand mixer, add in your oil, egg whites, and soda, and mix on medium until well incorporated. Mix in *1/2-3/4 of the jello.
  • Add batter into the muffin tin until each is about 2/3 full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  • Directions for Frosting:
  • In a large mixing bowl, using an electric hand or stand mixer, cream the butter, and cream cheese, and beat until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
  • Mix in the vanilla extract and salt.
  • Mix the half and half or milk and Shirley Temple soda together. (If you don’t, the carbonation in the soda will break your frosting)
  • Mix in the remaining jello.
  • Slowly mix in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, while adding a bit of the liquid mixture from Step 7 in between each cup. Continue to mix for 1-2 minutes or until creamy and forms stiff peaks, but don’t overmix! Add in food coloring if desired. Start with 1-2 drops and mix. Continue until color is achieved.
  • Prepare piping bag and fill bag with frosting and frost your cupcakes.

Estimated Nutritional Information

Calories: 225kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 6mg | Sodium: 273mg | Potassium: 30mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 68IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 1mg

The nutritional information provided are estimates. To learn more about how I calculate this information go to https://cakemixrecipes.com/privacy-policy-2/

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This recipe is my personal adaption of an ethnic inspired recipe. It is not intended to be an authentic recipe.  I’ve recreated this recipe because I enjoy the flavors and I want to encourage my readers to expand their tastes and try new flavor combinations. The recipe, ingredients and processes may have been adapted to make the recipe accessible for the average American. I have provided links to authentic versions of the recipe in the post above. I encourage you to visit these pages and learn more about the traditional version(s) of this recipe.

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