Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Review: Magnolia Bakery

...the one in which we visit the birthplace of the cupcake...

Last year, while visiting Europe, it was the Quest for the Perfect Gelato. So, it was only fitting that while visiting New York City, our quest this year would be for the Perfect Cupcake. Why, you ask? Because the ‘cupcake craze’ that began in the 1990’s and is still continuing across the country was born in the heart of the Big Apple.

To get technical, it all started at a little shop called “Magnolia Bakery,” which opened in 1994 in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan. They’ve now expanded to several locations, and we decided to make a late night visit to the one located near Rockefeller Center, at 1240 6th Ave. This was conveniently right on the way from the theater to our hotel – and because it was open until midnight, this was the PERFECT place to pick up a late-night snack after “Wicked” ended.

We can blame the entire cupcake craze on extra cake batter. Apparently, one of the bakers had extra batter while making 6” cakes, and instead of letting that batter go to waste, she began making cupcakes…and soon, she had late-night customers coming in and begging for one of the deliciously-iced treats.

Magnolia Bakery has been featured on “Sex and the City” – and yes, in case you’re wondering, I was a HUGE fan of this show…I wanted to dress like Carrie and act like Samantha – but I was always actually a Charlotte-girl at heart….

Carrie with her cupcake...*

So…enough about the background and history of Magnolia Bakery…I was almost quivering in excitement as we approached the little shop. Being that it was going on 11:00 pm, I had reasoned that it would be relatively empty…I mean, what kind of crazy people go out for cupcakes at 11:00 pm???!! (Well – obviously, WE do, but who’s counting US??!!) Imagine my surprise when we arrived, and I found the place not quite packed, but definitely busy….

We jumped into the craziness - it was a bit like Walmart the day after Thanksgiving, and this was just a regular, boring Friday night - and I discovered a HUGE disadvantage to going an hour before closing…the cupcake window was sadly lacking and a bit empty, as most of the “popular” cupcakes have been sold out by now. Oh, the horror! However, there were still several delicious temptations to choose from, which, of course, sent Daughter into a tizzy….For some unknown reason, that girl treats food decisions like they’re life or death. Seriously – it can take her 45 minutes to choose a flavor of ice-cream at Baskin Robbins – gah! This type of indecisiveness in NYC will get you killed – so I had to repeatedly warn, “One more minute! One more minute! Make up your mind! It's JUST a cupcake!!!!” (God help us when she has to decide on a name for any future children....!)

While Daughter is anxiously trying to decide which little morsel of sweetness will be the Perfect Ten of Cupcakes, and I’m trying to jostle and elbow my way into the line so we can get served, Hubby is standing in the background, looking a bit helpless and perplexed…he has no clue as to why he is surrounded by a gaggle of women on a Friday night desperately trying to get their sugar rush. He DID look a bit out of his element, but after spending over $25 on a glass of wine at the restaurant earlier, he knew better than to say anything about his girls spending $3.50 on a cupcake.

Eventually, it was our turn to order…Daughter went with a Coconut Cream, which is one of the Magnolia’s classics…and I went with their famous Banana Pudding. As in real pudding. Not a cupcake.

A little cup of heaven....

PUDDING???? At a BAKERY???!! I know, right? I DIDN’T get a cupcake at the birthplace of cupcakes!!!! That’s because I had done my research ahead of time and knew that the Banana Pudding was FAMOUS – rich, creamy, and decadent. Not to worry, though…Hubby opted not to get a cupcake (he’s really not into sweets), so I graciously decided to get him a cupcake anyway – chocolate, no less – and if he decided he REALLY didn’t want it, well, I’m sure I could manage to eat that cupcake for him.

I'm sure, if Hubby would have chosen a flavor, he would have chosen this one.

Sigh. The sacrifices one makes for the sake of love.

The cupcake was good – but I didn’t consider it great. Of course, I had nothing to compare it to at this point, and so more research would be needed. Again - the sacrifices I make for the sake of research. The icing was sweet – very sweet – and that threw me off a bit. I will say that the banana pudding was to die for…I would walk out of my way in NYC just to get another taste of that little bit of heaven. So, if you're ever in NYC - and see a Magnolia Bakery - don't just get a cupcake. GET THE BANANA PUDDING!!!!!

Our visit to Magnolia Bakery now complete, we walked on back to the hotel…a successful ending to a wonderful first day in New York City. (I should add that there is NO place to sit inside the shop, so we got our cupcakes & pudding to go - and indulged when we got back to our room.)

Speaking of walking...I'm going to address that in the next post...because...well...just because. It needs to be addressed.


*Image from HERE


Charla Lear said...

I think we were separated at birth because I was a Samantha/Carrie wannabe, too, but am too Charlotte for words!

Anne Canon said...

Last summer my mother, Cole and I had a cupcake from Magnolia every single day we were in the city! Sometimes two :)