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Friday, September 9, 2011

Shirley Temple Cupcakes

When I hear the words, "Shirley Temple," my mind does not refer to the child actress, famous for her singing and dancing (at least, not at first).  It immediately connects with the image of a maraschino cherry floating in a glass of 7-Up, dyed pink by the grenadine syrup and the cherry's sweet juice.  I remember ordering this drink at many family functions growing up.  My sister and I would excitedly ask my parents if we could order a Shirley Temple, and they usually obliged.  I loved sipping the sweet carbonated drink ever so slowly, so I could enjoy every drop of it.  Once I neared the bottom, I would carefully scoop out the cherry (the best part, of course) with my straw and after pulling off the stem, would enjoy every bite.  Although we're both much older now, I'm sure my sister would agree that Shirley Temples are still one of the best sweet drinks we could enjoy.  It has such a nostalgic feel, and ordering one makes me feel like a kid again!

I was lucky enough to find this recipe posted by Shanon of The Curvy Carrot.  This light, sweet cake made with marschino cherry juice and 7-Up is perfect, and the addition of almond extract really brings out the cherry flavor.  I absolutely loved the effect of the red cake on the bottom, which mimics the effect of the cherry juice in a Shirley Temple glass.  The cupcake is topped with a fluffy, cherry-flavored buttercream frosting and a marschino cherry.  The cherry on top completes the look--unfortunately, I was unable to find marschino cherries with stems, but I still think they look great without them.  I LOVE recipes that present well, and this one definitely does! 

FYI, the original recipe is actually gluten-free!  See original source link below.

Shirley Temple Cupcakes
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Recipe from The Curvy Carrot
Original recipe source Simply Gluten Free
Yield:  12 cupcakes

For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups plus 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup Cherry 7-Up, at room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp maraschino cherry juice
Red food coloring

For the buttercream frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp maraschino cherry juice

For garnish:
12 maraschino cherries with stems

For the cupcakes:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and prepare a cupcake pan with your desired paper liners (I recommend using plain white, so the red color can show through). 

In a large bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar together and beat, on medium-high speed, until fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Reduce the mixer speed to low, and alternate adding half of the flour mixture and half of the Cherry 7-Up, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.  Repeat until the flour and Cherry 7-Up are completely added to the batter. 

Add the vanilla and almond extracts, mixing well.

Place about 3/4 cup of the cupcake batter in a separate small bowl and add the remaining 1 Tbsp of flour, maraschino cherry juice, and red food coloring (to your desired tint). 

Evenly distribute the red cupcake batter among your prepared liners, about 1-2 tsp per cupcake, gently smoothing out the batter to make sure it is flat.

Once the red batter is in place, evenly distribute the remaining cupcake batter among the cupcake liners, making sure not to mix the two batters.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let cool completely before frosting.

For the buttercream frosting:
In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the pinch of salt, powdered sugar, vanilla and almond extracts, lemon juice, and maraschino cherry juice, adding more powdered sugar as necessary for your desired piping consistency.

Pipe as desired onto your cooled cupcakes and garnish with a maraschino cherry.

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