Gluten Free Shirley Temple Cupcakes Recipe

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by Carol Kicinski on August 29, 2010

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Gluten Free Shirley Temple Cupcakes Recipe

As children, my sisters and I were not allowed to drink soda with two exceptions; tummy aches and nights out with our parents when they ordered cocktails before dinner. On the latter occasion, we girls always ordered Shirley Temples, ginger ale or 7-Up with grenadine topped with a maraschino cherry. We felt so sophisticated sipping our pretty little drinks.

A few months ago my baby sister Karen was visiting and when we went out for dinner she ordered a Shirley Temple.  This made me smile.

Karen is all grown up, well past the legal drinking age in this country, has a three year old child and her own business but in a part of my mind she remains an adorable little girl with huge ginger colored eyes, red hair and a smattering of freckles across her nose, who I helped raise after our mother passed away when she was 8.

Karen has gotten short changed a lot over the years.  When other children had mothers making them Halloween costumes, Karen had me struggling with a sewing machine that I didn’t know how to use, trying to fashion a trick-or-treat outfit for her.  While my older sister and I grew up eating dinners prepared by my mother, Karen had to suffer through the three meals I sort of had down at the time.  When her son was born it was slightly overshadowed by my father’s illness and just recently her birthday was almost ignored because of the marriage of my son.

So with Karen in mind I developed these gluten-free cupcakes after her favorite “cocktail” the Shirley Temple.

These Gluten Free Shirley Temple Cupcakes, which are basically a doctored up, gluten-free version of 7-Up cupcakes, are so pretty and whimsical I can easily see them served at Bridal and Baby Showers, little girl’s Birthday Parties and for Afternoon Tea.  And of course for Karen’s next birthday.

Gluten Free Shirley Temple Cupcakes

I used my own all purpose gluten-free flour blend but feel free to use what ever gluten-free flour blend you prefer. If the blend does not contain xanthan gum, add 1 teaspoon in with the flour mixture.

Gluten Free Shirley Temple Cupcakes

Gluten Free Shirley Temple Cupcakes Recipe



1½ cups plus 1 tablespoon all purpose gluten free flour blend – use divided
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ cup 7-Up, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice
Several drops of gluten-free red food coloring gel


½ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large pinch of Kosher or fine sea salt
2½ cups confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice
12 maraschino cherries, patted dry with paper towel



Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper or silicone cupcake linersGluten Free Shirley Temple Cupcakes Recipe Image.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together 1½ cups of the gluten-free flour blend, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium high speed for two minutes or until light and fluffy.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the bowl after each addition.  Turn the mixer to low and add half of the flour mixture, then the 7-Up and finally the rest of the flour mixture.  Add the vanilla extract and mix.  Scrape the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl well to ensure all the ingredients are fully incorporated.  Do not be concerned if the batter looks a little curdled.

Take a ½ cup of the batter and put in a small bowl.  Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour, the maraschino cherry juice and enough red food coloring to turn the batter red. Stir well.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans (about 1 big teaspoon per cup).  Gently spoon the remaining batter on top of the red batter trying not to mix the two colors but to keep in layers.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until the tops of the cupcakes are slightly springy and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling. (The cupcakes will puff up a bit while cooking because of the 7-Up.)

While the cupcakes are cooling, prepare the frosting.


In a mixing bowl of an electric mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and salt on high speed until creamy.  Sift in the confectioners’ sugar and mix on low until fully combined.  Add the vanilla, lemon juice and maraschino cherry juice.  Mix to combine.

Pipe on or frost the cupcakes with the frosting and top each cupcake with a maraschino cherry.


This recipe makes 12 Gluten Free Shirley Temple Cupcakes

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owner’s. This blog accepts free manufacturers’ samples and forms of cash advertising, sponsorship, paid insertions or other forms of compensation. Affiliate links may be included in this post.

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Categories:    Cupcakes

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Kim-Cook It Allergy Free August 29, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Wow! These look awesome, Carol. I think that you have already mastered the art of "creating pictures" and telling a story. Yours are no longer just photos. Beautifully done, my dear!


GF Gidget August 29, 2010 at 7:14 pm

So pretty!


Deanna August 30, 2010 at 4:32 am

My son LOVES Shirley Temples. He would flip for these cupcakes. Think they'd still be tasty with coconut oil or shortening instead of butter?


The InTolerant Chef August 30, 2010 at 5:08 am

I think making something like this for your sister shows how much you love her. That is a very special thing. I'm sure she knows how much you care.


Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul August 30, 2010 at 6:40 pm

A lovely tribute to your sister Carol! Love the cupcakes..they look so cute!


Stephanie August 30, 2010 at 7:49 pm

OMG these are gorgeous! I can't wait to try them. What a sweet sister you are :)


withoutadornment September 1, 2010 at 9:44 am

My sister and I used to order Shirley Temples every time we went out for dinner as kids as well! Sometimes we order them just for fun (or when I'm DD.)
I'm definitely going to have to try these! The Shirley Temples we would have also had orange juice in them, so I wonder how these would taste with half orange juice/half 7-up.


Cheriss September 1, 2010 at 10:38 am

SO Cute! I'm making these for sure for the next shower I go to…


glutenfreeforgood September 1, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Wow, those are some gorgeous looking cupcakes. Your photography is so beautiful!

I never had soda pop growing up either. =) I didn't have much of that around when my kids were growing up either. "Ginger colored eyes." I love that and it fits my daughter, too.

Shirley Temple cupcakes. Perfect!


Nicole Lavella September 2, 2010 at 12:54 am

For being gluten-free, these cupcakes look incredible! I especially love the way the frosting is colored using the cherry juice. I always feel like gluten-free desserts are so plain looking.

Every time I've tried making cupcakes, I can never get them to rise and/or look as fluffy as yours! I know you said that the 7-Up makes these rise a bit, but is there any other way to get gluten-free cupcakes to rise?

withoutadorment–Based on the recipe, it sounds like the orange juice would give it just an extra kick. If you make those you have to let us know how they turn out!


Angie's Recipes September 2, 2010 at 3:23 am

wow This looks gorgeous! Your first picture looks so good that I want to grab the cake off from the screen!


Simply Life September 2, 2010 at 4:56 am

what a creative cupcake idea – I love it!


Simply...Gluten-free September 2, 2010 at 7:32 am

Hi Nicole,

I sent you an email with this response but thought I should post it for others.

Gluten free cakes and cupcakes need to start with a flour blend that is not too heavy, must have either xanthan gum or guar gum and needs leavening just like regular cakes and cupcakes.

I find using superfine flours helps not only with the texture and taste but with the rising as well. As a note my flour blend is milled super super fine so it has no gritty texture and is a pastry quality gluten free flour. (Sorry don't mean for this to be a commercial for my flour)

This recipe has a couple of things that help it rise. First, creaming the sugar and butter helps get air into the batter as does adding the eggs one at a time. Secondly it uses baking powder for leavening and the 7-Up helps but they would rise anyway.

Technique is as important in gluten free baking as ingredients.

Good Luck and let me know if you have any questions!



Simply...Gluten-free September 2, 2010 at 7:33 am

Hi Bean (WithoutAdornment)

I think orange juice would be great, let me know if you make them out it turns out.



Bren September 2, 2010 at 9:57 am

These are beautiful and the plating is just luscious. Nice work. I'll eat those every day! :)


Alayssa September 5, 2010 at 11:42 pm

it looks so yyuummyy and so colorful. I could even imagine how nice the taste is.. I would definitely try one of those..


Britt September 8, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Wow Carol, these are super cute and what a thoughtful gift for your sister!


Tia October 28, 2010 at 4:22 pm

I just made these! Mine were layered when the batter was wet but once they baked up the colours blended together :( How did you get yours to stay layered? Do you know why this happened? The flavour reminds me of Philipino "puto" steamed rice cakes. They're still pretty with the mixed colours but what the heck!?


Simply...Gluten-free November 3, 2010 at 5:36 am

Hi Tia, Did you add the extra tablespoon of flour blend to the red batter? If you don't do this, they will blend while baking.


Lemon diet May 30, 2011 at 3:09 pm

This post Shirley Temple Cupcakes is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined and look forward to more. I have shared your website!


cupcake mistress August 14, 2011 at 7:59 pm

my first gluten-free recipe…taste is very good but not enough frosting. i would double the amount of frosting ingredients for 12 cupcakes.
thanks for the recipe:)


Sandra Baumgarten November 12, 2011 at 2:54 pm

Wow! Can’t wait to try these! I smiled the whole way through your opening paragraph because my sister and I very rarely drank soda, and when we did, we chose the sophisticated Shirley Temple! :)


Carol Kicinski November 12, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Thanks Sandra, isn’t it fun to recall what it was like with your sister when you were young?


Nadia April 26, 2012 at 1:27 pm

What a beautiful website. Thank you for this gorgeous looking recipe. Can’t wait to try it!
Please could you tell me what nozzle size/type you used to decorate them?
Many thanks


mamabear144 July 13, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Just made the cutest little Shirley Temple cupcakes – tender, delicious, beautiful. Didn’t use the maraschino cherry juice (too many chemicals,) and they still came out very colorful.


CarolKicinski July 16, 2013 at 9:01 pm

I now use the natural maraschinos – no chemicals, artificial flavors or dyes :)


Victoria September 4, 2013 at 2:24 pm

I want to make these for a cocktail party I’m having at the end of the week, but I’m wondering how far in advance I can make them and still have them be cute and tasty? Maybe if I make the cupcakes and the frosting, but don’t frost them until the day of?


CarolKicinski September 10, 2013 at 2:21 pm

You can bake the cupcakes and make the frosting a couple days ahead but I would not put them together until the day of. Decorate in the morning and put in the fridge, they should be great! Have fun.


Susan Lange July 5, 2015 at 10:30 am

I have made this recipes with different color combinations for Easter and 4th if July and they were hits both times. Easter I divided the dough in fourths and colored them yellow, pink, blue, and green and put a small spoonful in each muffin cup. 4th of July I layered it with red, white, and blue. So much fun!


Carol Kicinski July 6, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Wow Susan! That sounds beautiful!


Melissa Ferguson November 22, 2015 at 7:53 pm

I have made these twice now and have loved them both times! It always takes longer to actually cook (probably 25-27 minutes) but turns out great! Thanks so much for this!


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