This Shirley Temple Cake is a super easy dessert that’s moist, tender, and fun to serve. Made with instant pudding, grenadine, lemon-lime soda, and maraschino cherries, it’s reminiscent of a classic Shirley Temple drink!
Shirley Temple Cake Recipe
We love all things Shirley Temple as seen in our classic Shirley Temple, Dirty Shirley for grown ups, and Shirley Temple Party Punch for a crowd! So it only made sense to make a Shirley Temple Cake. Taking notes from our popular Pistachio Cake with a few adjustments, this Shirley Temple Cake recipe was born. And we love it.
Soda and instant pudding powder ensure it’s got a tender crumb, while almond extract and lime juice give it that sweet, tart flavor. And of course what would a Shirley Temple dessert be without maraschino cherries and grenadine? They’re included, too!
This cake is wonderful anytime of year, but especially fun if you’re celebrating a birthday party, a bridal shower, Easter, or need something simple for a Sunday brunch.
This cake starts with a box cake mix and then gets doctored up with other goodies.
(Scroll to the bottom for our easy printable recipe with the complete directions.)
- Box white cake mix – Just the cake mix, not the other ingredients listed on the package. P.s. You can’t even tell this cake uses a box mix, but if you have a favorite from-scratch white cake mix recipe, by all means, use it!
- Vanilla instant pudding – You’ll just be using the powder, not the other ingredients listed on the package.
- Large eggs – Helps bind the batter.
- Vegetable oil – Contributes to the light sponge and tender crumb.
- Lemon-Lime Soda – Such as 7UP or Sprite. The carbonation makes this cake so light and fluffy!
- Almond extract – This gives the cake a wonderful cherry flavor.
- Grenadine – This is reduced sweetened pomegranate juice, so basically pomegranate syrup. It’s a key ingredient in a Shirley Temple drink. Even though grenadine is non-alcoholic, it’s usually located in the liquor aisle or near the club soda and typically comes in a 12 ounce bottle.
- Maraschino cherries – The cherries should be very finely chopped into teeny-tiny bits, so they are speckled throughout the cake, not in big chunks.
- For the Icing: powdered sugar, almond extract, lime juice, and milk.
- Replace the lemon-lime soda. A Shirley Temple drink really isn’t a Shirley Temple at all without the lemon-lime soda, plus the carbonation makes this cake so light and fluffy – I highly recommend it for optimal results. However it can be replaced with milk or water. Baking time might need to be adjusted.
- Swap the grenadine with maraschino cherry juice. A true Shirley Temple is made with grenadine, but you can replace it with maraschino cherry juice from the bottle of cherries, if preferred.
- Include some nuts. A 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or almonds added to the batter would be delicious.
- Add in some coconut flakes. A cup of sweetened coconut flakes can be added to the batter for another delicious layer of flavor (do it!)
- What if I don’t own a bundt pan? A fluted bundt pan makes this cake so pretty. But if you don’t have one, no worries. This cake can also be made in a 9×13 baking dish with the cooking time between 25-30 minutes.
How to Make Shirley Temple Cake
This cake is so easy to make with just a few simple steps.
(Scroll to the bottom for our easy printable recipe with the complete directions and don’t miss the video below.)
- Make the batter. Whisk together cake mix, instant pudding powder, eggs, lemon-lime soda, vegetable oil, grenadine, and almond extract; beat with an electric mixer until combined, then fold in the finely diced maraschino cherries.
- Prepare the bundt pan. Butter and flour a 12-cup capacity bundt pan and evenly pour the batter into it.
- Bake. Bake at 350F for about 40 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
- Cool completely. Allow to cool to room temperature, then turn out onto a rack or plate.
- Drizzle with icing. Whip up the icing and drizzle over the top. Wait for it to set, slice, and serve!
Video: Shirley Temple Cake
This cake will last about 1-2 days at normal room temperature. Anything longer, it will need to be refrigerated (for up to 5 days.) Either way, be sure to cover it with foil or plastic wrap so it doesn’t dry out. You an also freeze it for up to 2 months.
More Easy Cake Recipes:
Shirley Temple Cake
FOR THE CAKE
- 16.25 ounce box white cake mix (just the cake mix – not the other ingredients listed on the package)
- 3.4 ounce box vanilla instant pudding (just the powder)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup lemon-lime soda (such as 7UP or Sprite)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons grenadine
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 cup maraschino cherries , stems removed, very finely minced (so you have 1/2 cup tiny minced cherry bits)
FOR THE ICING
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 12-cup capacity bundt pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the cake mix, instant pudding powder, eggs, soda, vegetable oil, grenadine, and almond extract; beat with an electric mixer or whisk vigorously for 2 minutes, until combined. Fold in the minced maraschino cherries.
- Pour evenly into the prepared pan.
- Bake for approximately 40 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes, then run a dull knife along the edges to loosen. Then allow to cool COMPLETELY (otherwise the icing will just melt when you pour it on.)
- Turn cake out onto a wire rack or plate; whisk together the icing ingredients and drizzle over the top, letting it fall down the sides. Let set.
- Slice and serve!