Life was a lot simpler back then. Back when the worst thing that happened that day was a scraped knee while pretending to be robotic dinosaurs. Or you got sand up your nose when you jumped off the swing and instead of having the graceful light of a feather landing you imagined, you end up doing a face-plant. Those were the simple days. Not much got me down then, and if I was a little bummed out, I just popped in The Lion King and all my worries were gone by the first note of the very first song of the movie. You know the song. Don’t look at me twiddling your thumbs and pretending you never tried to sing the beginning of “The Circle of Life.” We all have done it. But now, things always make me pause in the middle of the movie. Things like responsibilities. Doing a job that helps pay the bills. Making meals because I can no longer ask my mom to make me a PB&J. But sometimes you just have to give yourself permission to be a kid again. To imagine the impossible. To slurp down that shake without worrying about your hips. Or in my case, make Shirley Temple Cupcakes.
I have a lot of fond memories of Shirley Temples in my childhood. If I wasn’t getting a Root Beer, I was getting a Shirley Temple. Since my parents went to the same restaurants frequently, they knew my order pretty well. They also knew I loved extra cherries in mine so I didn’t even have to ask for them. That was the best. One of my favorite memories is when we were in a restaurant somewhere in Connecticut (I was like 6 or 7 at the time so excuse me for not remembering the name, the street, town, or even the exact State. I believe it was in Connecticut!) right before the dinner rush and they had a piano man. I was so captivated and my parents gave me money to put in his fish bowl (aka tip bowl). The piano man smiled at me and let me sit down next to him. He asked me what song he should play next. I was super excited! But I didn’t know any “adult” songs so I requested “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” He smiled at me, and to my surprise, he did play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star but in the most classiest way I have ever heard. I sat there for awhile, watching him play, and he would ask me if I liked a certain song. It was a wonderful evening. And yes, that evening I had a Shirley Temple so it was not just a random blurb about my childhood. It had some relevancy.
But tomorrow is my birthday and I will be turning 22. I know I shouldn’t be yearning for the days of my “youth” quite yet, but I am at the point where I still feel stuck between adulthood and being a kid. And sometimes, I just want to be a kid. I am not good at this whole adult thing. I long for the mysterious, nice piano man and a Shirley Temple.
Well, I don’t have a mysterious piano man, but I did have cherries in my baking cabinet. So I decided to make Shirley Temple Cupcakes. I had seen a few other bloggers try it out, but I had a different idea in mind. Of course, it is more like a really cherry cupcake… but I put umbrellas in them to make the illusion even stronger! Smart, huh?
Sorry for the blurriness. My Fault! Just so excited for them!
So now you can feel like a kid too when you just need one of those moments.
Shirley Temple Cupcakes (adapted from The Curvy Carrot)
1 1/2 cups Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cherry-flavored 7-up
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4 tablespoons of maraschino cherry juice
red food dye
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 muffin cups (Sorry, this recipe only makes 12 so share wisely!)
2. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl or on wax paper.
3. With an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Slowly add in the sugar. Add in eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each one. Put in the extract and cherry juice.
4. Alternate adding in the flour mixture with the 7-up.
5. I added just a drop of red food dye because I wanted a pink tint to my cupcake.
6. Fill liners with batter about 3/4ths of the way.
7. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Very Cherry Frosting
6 maraschino cherries sliced into quarters
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, softened
6 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
6 tablespoons maraschino cherry juice
1. With an electric mixer, beat butter until smooth.
2. Add in 4 cups of confectioner’s sugar 1 cup at a time.. Beating well after each time.
3. Add in the cherry juice and almond extract. Beat in the rest of the confectioner’s sugar.
4. If you do not like the consistency of the frosting, add in a little bit of whole milk (like a teaspoon at a time). To me, this was fine.
5. Add in the cherry slices. Beat on low so they are well dispersed.
6. Frost to your liking!
Garnish with a whole cherry and a drink umbrella!
In other news, tomorrow is my birthday (just in case you missed that above!). Also, I won over my first wedding couple! I will be making Portal Cupcakes for their wedding! I will be writing more about that soon. I am super excited!
So celebrate with me and make your own Shirley Temple Cakes!