Nelly Elliott

Newcastle based blogger, mama, creative, coffee-only with my oxygen, vegan, plus-size fashion lover and feminist.


Shirley Temple Cake

You may have seen on my previousCake Club post that I made a Shirley Temple cake? I promised you a recipe, so here it is. (really really late but hopefully worth the wait?)

The Inspiration for this cake is the lovely mock-tail (non-alcoholic cocktail) known as the 'Shirley Temple', which according to Wikipedia was invented in Beverly Hills to give to the adorable child star, who was too young for a real cocktail. The ingredients vary from recipe to recipe but the main flavours are ginger ale, lime, and grenadine; usually served with a generous portion of maraschino cherries.

As usual I came up with the idea weeks and weeks before cake club but left my actual baking experimentation till the last minute, I was very lucky it worked so well, as it was a total experiment incorporating about 12 different recipes, smooshing them together and hoping they worked...

The sponge itself was a complete experiment, I was worried about adding liquid to my cake batter, as it is usually the perfect recipe for an under-cooked middle, or a heavy texture. The end result was slightly heavier than my usual cakes but not horribly so. What I was completely bowled over by was the flavour, it tasted exactly like Ginger ale! swear I could even taste the slight fizz.

So without further ado, onto the recipe.



  • 240g plain flour
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • A large pinch of salt
  • 80g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 220ml ginger ale
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp mixed spice

    Lime Curd

  • 60 mls lime juice/ lemon juice
  • 120 mls water
  • 135 gs caster sugar
  • 25 gs cornflour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Grated zest of half a lime/lemon

    Maraschino Cherry Buttercream

  • 200g butter (softened)
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp of cherry syrup (from a jar of cocktail cherrys)
  • pink food colouring

    Cocktail cherries to decorate.

    Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or by hand if prefered.)

    Beat on slow speed until everything is combined and mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.

    Gradually add half the ginger ale and beat until just incorporated.

    Whisk the egg, vanilla extract and remaining ginger ale together in a jug or bowl, then pour into the flour mixture and continue beating until incorporated.

    Pour the mixture into a deep cake tin (20cm diameter) and cook at 180C for an hour (until a skewer comes out clean).

    Once cooled, cut in half and trim any peak from the top so it is level.

    Spread the lime curd in the middle of the sandwich.

    Apply a crumb coat of buttercream and refridgerate for 30 mins (minumum)

    Apply a second thicker coat of buttercream with a palette knife, dip the knife in boiling water to get a clean finish to your cake.

    Dot cherries around the edge to decorate

  • I have blogged buttercream and lime curd before but here is how I made them for this cake;

    Lime Curd
    You simply add all the above ingredients into a saucepan and pop it over a medium heat. Whisk continuously until it starts to thicken, as soon as it starts to thicken, take it off the heat and keep whisking and it should then look like a nice thick citrus-y jelly/curd! If you want a nice green colour you can add food colouring too!

    Mix the butter and maraschino syrup together with an electric whisk or stand mixer until combined, the gradually sift in the icing sugar until all is combined, add the desired amount of pink colouring and if a little stiff add the milk to soften slightly before spreading onto the cake.

    I am super super proud of this cake as it was a concept and recipe I devised myself.

    This is really what I love about the Clandestine Cake Club, it gives me the opportunity to play and create new flavours and ideas. This cake proved popular on the night and I was slightly disappointed that there was none left for me to take home! I think I might try experimenting with the sponge recipe again to make ginger ale muffins or cupcakes.

    I have submitted this Shirley Temple Cake recipe to Lynn from the Clandestine Cake Club, as she is working on a CCC book! I really hope it gets picked by the publishers as I am stupidly proud of how it turned out.

    Do you enjoy creating your own recipes? Feel free to post yours in the comments below.