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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Magnolia Bakery - Cupcakes In New York

Picnik collage

Picnik collage

Picnik collage

Banana Pudding



Magnolia Bakery needs no introduction. Most of us who enjoy baking would have heard about this famous bakery ,possibly like myself, through its famous cookbooks. I do not own any of the cookbooks from Magnolia Bakery...was almost tempted by the array of powdery pastel cupcakes on their covers but the lack of photos inside the book had failed to appeal to my weakness for visual stimulation. Magnolia Bakery's cupcakes are legendary and I was eager to try them on this trip. I was literally brimming with a jittery sense of excitement as I joined the bustling crowd in front of the shop.

A lovely cosy shop with pretty sweets decked out in homely display, I thought the bakery exudes an old fashioned southern charm. It was easy to get carried away by the array of cupcakes. Although the flavours available were limited (mostly were just vanilla cupcakes with different colour butter cream frosting), the lovely signature swirl of the fluffy pastel frosting had the ability to beckon. When I left the shop, I was a happy girl with 2 cupcakes and a banana pudding in my bag. When I took my first bite of the vanilla butter cream cupcake at a park nearby, I was crest fallen with disappointment! The frosting was so tooth achingly sweet that I had to scrape it off the cake. As fluffy as the frosting looks, it was, I felt over saturated with sugar, giving it a sandy/gritty texture. The cake itself was ok but I have baked cup cakes which are fluffier and moister myself. The caramel meringue butter cream was much smoother and a little less sweet than the vanilla butter cream. What saved the day was really the Banana Pudding. Creamy and smooth, it was the perfect dessert to be enjoyed on a cool sunny day in the park. I am now contemplating to reproduce it at home.

Following my previous disappointing experience at the very popular Crumbs, this is my second lack luster encounter with the American Cupcake. I am struggling to understand what is it about these cupcakes that make them so popular, is it the fist size portion at Crumbs or is it the pretty frosted swirl at Magnolia? The frosting is not piped but twirled skillfully using an icing spatula. It was bewitching and inspiring to watch the staff work effortlessly with the fluffy icing. For those who are keen to create the signature swirl, watch the little video I had shot with my little compact camera. Enjoy!

23 comments:

pickyin @ LifeIsGreat said...

Their 'buttercream' icing recipe calls for 6 cups of icing sugar, so it was not surprising you can't eat them. I didn't use their recipe when I made their vanilla cupcakes. The vanilla cupcakes are good though, after a few of my friends tried the recipe as well.

NEL, the batter baker said...

I've not tried Magnolia Cupcakes, but have tried DC Cupcakes, which according to many of the locals, are better than Magnolia's. I too met with disappointment when I finally got my DC Cupcakes after waiting in line for more than half hour. It was not as moist and fluffy as I hoped it would be, and was just way too sweet for my sweet tooth. All the cupcakes in USA look gorgeous though, so I credit them for that. Perhaps our taste preferences are just different halfway across the world...

pigpigscorner said...

Our friends did ask us to avoid Magnolia in NYC. I'm usually not a huge fan of heavily frosted cupcakes, but I loved the Brooklyn Blackout Cupcake at two little red hens!

NEL, the batter baker said...

just managed to load the vid... totally mesmerised watching how she does it. Looks so effortless! And she completed 4! And with time in between to clean and tidy up her spatula and frosting bucket!! Totally amazed :O

Shirley @ Kokken69 said...

@NEL - I know!! I stood at the window for like 20mins watching her! Who needs a piping bag! Start practising!

wendyywy @ Table for 2..... or more said...

intriguing... truly

Janine said...

I tried using that technique myself, but despite long hours of practicing, I still didn't manage to make it as nice so I gave up lol.

Anyway I think it's just the American palate vs our palate - most American recipes (buttercream, cookies, etc) I find are way too sweet for my liking, and like Pick Yin, I've steered clear of their frosting although I like their vanilla cupcake recipe

La Table De Nana said...

What great shots!

ICook4Fun said...

i don't really understand what is the buzz about this cupcakes either. The cakes were dried and they were way too sweet for my taste. You should see the line outside the shops on someday. Well, American like super sweet stuffs that is why the frosting is not suitable for our asian palate :)

Von said...

I hadn't heard of Magnolia bakery until today....haha :) Actually, I just read about another disappointing experience at the Bakery, before reading your blog too! The cakes look really pretty though- and I love watching the girl in the video ice those cupcakes!! Makes me want to make some just to try icing cupcakes like that!!

Jane Chew said...

Totally amazed! Thanks for sharing the photo n video.

Jeannie said...

Very interesting! she made it like so simple but I bet it's not!

daphne said...

I heard they are super sweet! but very additive. The frosting looks amazingggg...hope you had a great trip?

Melanie said...

Looks like a great cupcakes place! Too bad I'm too far from New York :)

Jay said...

wow...very interesting post with gorgeous cliks..
first time here...love your space..
excellent presentation with nice posts..
Am your happy follower now..;)
do stop by mine sometime..
Tasty Appetite

Jo said...

Hi Shirley, I just bought their cupcake recipe book. I ready their famous vanilla cupcakes and the ingredients seem like any normal cupcake. However my Chicago colleague who is now working in Singaore ravs about Magnolia cupcakes. But she does confess that their icing is sweet but good. After hearing this I can only conclude that the Americans are really sweet-tooths.

Uncle Lee said...

Hi Shirley, the cupcakes look very nice, but regret I'm not much of a fan of cupcakes.
Not much of a cake person....already ate one cake once, and I got handcuffed permanently....a wedding cake.
Ha ha ha.
Have fun, Shirley and keep a song in your heart.
Lee.

Hotly Spiced said...

Those cupcakes look incredible - I'd say worth the 24 hour flight to get there!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Oh no! What a shame that the cupcakes didn't wow you. I've heard a lot of similar reports. Still, it's so iconic isn't it!

noobcook said...

it looks like a pretty & fun place to be! look forward to your banana pudding :)

Honey Bee Sweets said...

8 years in States and I Never get aquainted to their cakes or cupcakes. Way TOO sweet. That gal is pretty skillful, I think everyday she ice at least a couple hundreds of those cuppies easy. There is this "fluffing" action going on when she place the buttercream....yeah need to learn that.

Passionate About Baking said...

Shirley,
I didn't go to their shop, but I saw one in Rockefeller Plaza foodcourt. I didn't even bother to buy to try even though they were really tempting. I recalled I read in NEL's post that their cupcakes are rather disappointing. Even my friend told me it was nothing fantastic. Having so many unfavourable reviews, I don't think it can tempt me to try it though. But it sure looks very good!
Thanks for sharing the video. Now I know how they made it. Looks like we have lots of practicing to do!! :p

zenchef said...

I don't know what the fuss is about either but i'm not a fan of cupcakes in general. So who am I to judge? :)

I think they got so popular after they appeared in the "Sex & the City" show. I think it's more of pilgrimage kind of place.

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