Cupcakes Dessert Food Musings Restaurant

The Shirley Temple Cupcake – A Surprising Treat

After this busy and delicious weekend, which included trips to A La Mode, Red Cow, Top Pot, The Whale Wins, Proletariat Pizza and Full Tilt Ice cream, it was quite a surprise to have one of my seniors come into school this morning with a box of treats from New York Cupcakes.

As he extended the the box towards me and pulled back the lid to reveal nearly a dozen beautifully frosted confections, he informed me that they were from “the best cupcake place ever… and I’ve actually been to New York City.” Though I have not personally been to the establishment, this youn man informed me that he visits frequently, that the staff members are all very nice, and that I “NEED to go there.”

The Lil Shirley Temple
The Lil Shirley Temple – and some grading


I selected a cupcake from the bunch, prompted this adamant individual to return to his class, and contemplated my predicament. I was just coming off of a wonderfully gustational weekend. I was two spoonfuls into my yogurt, granola and berry parfait for breakfast, and I had two slices of Proletariat’s “The Favorite” on deck for lunch. At 8:00 in the morning I had to wonder if I really needed a cupcake thrown into the mix as well. On the other hand, it is senior skip day, and this student came in specifically to share his favorite cupcakes with his teachers. Granted, he claimed it was because “we had to deal with him all year”, but it’s the thought (and the cupcake) that counts, isn’t it?

My problem was solved when another slumped into the room in a senioritis-induced stupor and casually announced his hunger to no one in general.

I offered up half of the luminescent treat. Maybe I couldn’t justify eating the whole thing, but half of one? Not a problem.

The cupcake that I selected – seen resting above on a bed of partially graded essays – was called the Lil Shirley Temple. The first thing that I can say is that it certainly lived up to it’s namesake(s).

Much like the real Shirley Temple, the cupcake was unavoidably, almost obnoxiously eye-catching. The cake itself was car-taillight day-glo red, was wide-piped with bright, lime-green frosting, and finished with a maraschino cherry,slice of candied lime and some fresh lime zest.


When compared to the drink, the flavor of the Lil Shirley brought me back to the evenings of my childhood, when I remember ordering Shirley Temple’s with extra cherries to wash down full orders of chicken wings and lo mein at the Four Corners Chinese Restaurant. The cake itself, despite being Kool-Aid red, was surprisingly light. While many cupcake stores tend to lean towards a more dense cake, likely to preserve structure and moisture, it’s clear that the folks over at NYC (the cupcake place, not the city) have found that wonderful balance of moist and fluffy.

As a final note, the webpage describes the frosting as “sweet lime buttercream,” BOTH parts of which (sweet and lime) – I can assure you – are true. Though the lime flavor comes through nicely, and the piped topping is creamy to the point of being more like whipped cream, and less like a thick frosting, the whole concoction is VERY sweet. This surprised me for a moment, until the student I has split the cupcake with pointed out that if they were trying to nail the flavor of a Shirley Temple. then the sweetness was right on target: “C’mon man, think about how much sugar is in a glass of 7-Up.”

Though I wasn’t a huge fan of just how cloyingly sweet it was, I do have to appreciate how well they replicated the flavor of one of my favorite childhood beverages, and it made me wonder about the 60 or so other flavors that the store offers. I guess I’ll have to take a trip over to crossroads to see for myself.



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