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Magnolia Bakery

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Who can tell me something about the Magnolia Bakery (atmosphere, cakes, it's worth a trip ?) ?

Thanks!

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  1. Magnolia Bakery is definitely worth the trip as their homsetyle cakes are some of the best of this genre in the city. Old fashioned chocolate cake, coconut cake, hummingbird cake, icebox cake and cupcakes are some examples. They mostly sell cakes by the slice (generous slices I might add) - for a whole cake you must call and order in advance. It's a tiny place that can be very busy at night, one or two tables, but if it's crowded, they are not comfortable, so you can take your cake to the park across the street.

    Well worth the visit. One of their former owners/managers (I am not sure which) opened a bakery with similar product uptown, Buttercup, yet I find their cakes to be not as moist.

    Try the Hummingbird Cake - a moist banana cake with nuts and a lush cream-cheese frosting.

    If you go, report back and let us know what you thought.

    Enjoy.

    12 Replies
    1. re: shortstop

      what is the address?

      1. re: joannapvb

        401 Bleecker, at the corner of W. 11th. ph: 462-2572

        1. re: shortstop

          It's not that you can't make any of this stuff - but they do it really well and it's just there waiting for you to come and choose. The german chocolate cake, the banana pudding - I would get there asap.

          1. re: djk

            I've never taken a fancy to their chocolate CUPcakes. Dry, bitter, and dense. Consistently foul (truly, not sub-par or just okay, but BAD--tried them at least 4-5 times now. I've finally given up wasting money on them). Their other cupcakes are divine.

            Anybody else feel the same way? I would hope the chocolate cloud doesn't extend to their cakes, proper. Several of you speak very highly of them.

            PX

            1. re: PX

              I would disagree, I've found them tasty. And given the speed at which they disappear from the window, there seem to be other fans. I've never had anything at the Magnolia (or Buttercup) that I would consider "bad" -- except for bad for your cholesterol level....

              1. re: xavier

                That's not been my experience at all.

                Whenever I've happened by Magnolia, there was always a FULL tray of barely touched chocolate cupcakes and a sheetpan of the good stuff that had been destroyed in a frenzy to nab 'em... the "yellow" cupcakes are constantly being replenished. I'll ask next time I stop by if this dynamic is true or just coincidental.

                PX

              2. re: PX

                I've often been disappointed by the chocolate stuff there. I've had mediocre chocolate cupcakes and some pretty dry slices of chocolate cake, too. I'd stick to the outrageously harlot-scarlet red velvet cake, coconut cake, and other southern specialties. The banana pudding is divine!

                1. re: PX

                  it's funny how people's tastes can be so widely different, isn't it? i absolutely love magnolia's chocolate cupcakes, and for exactly the reasons you dislike them. i love that they're dense and bitter; i hate fluffy or crumbly cake.

                  i'm obsessed with magnolia; i don't live in new york anymore, but i pine for that place. for me, going there and getting a huge piece of coconut cake and sitting at a table with friends is like being at the best birthday party of all time. the banana pudding will knock you out, if you're into that kind of thing.

                  1. re: PX

                    I recently purchased a chocolate blackout cake for my wife at Two Little Red Hens bakery on the Upper East Side that she loved. They don't sell slices of it but I noticed they have a huge cupcake version that looks like it would blow the frosting off of the chocolate cupcakes at Magnolia or the vastly overrated Cupcake Cafe.

                    Enjoy,
                    Frank

            2. re: shortstop

              Now, I'm going to have to try Magnolia. I heard that Buttercup was the sister bakery to Magnolia and so the other week, I dragged my husband out of the apartment and down fifty blocks to try Buttercup... only to be sorely disappointed. Not bragging, my cupcakes are better than that.

              But whenever we walk past Magnolia the smell of fresh baked cake and sweet butter frosting is amazing. I've restrained myself by thinking it was going to be the same thing as Buttercup.

              I'll definitely have to go. Thanks,

              Akiko

              1. re: Akiko
                c
                Caitlin Wheeler

                Hey Akiko -- if you're willing to try giving Buttercup another shot, their whole chocolate sour cream cake is really really amazing. Their red velvet cupcakes are also good. I think the other cupcakes at Magnolia and Buttercup are what your friend's mom might have made to bring to school for your friend's birthday, only better. If you're a good baker, you could definitely make something as good or better, but at $1.50 a pop, sometimes it's easier to satisfy a craving for that homebaked taste at a bakery.

                1. re: Akiko

                  Akiko:

                  Mangolia makes the most delicious cakes I've ever eaten. I think the cupcakes are just acceptable though. My favorite is the coconut cake but that hummingbird cake is a close second. I don't think they have as good chocolate cakes as you can get elsewhere but that's not my specialty. I turn into a six year old girl when I'm in there as the pastel colored frostings make my head spin.

                  Everyone seems to love the banana pudding too but I never venture further than the cakes, my wife has had good luck with the heath bar cheesecake tortes.

                  Fortunately I don't even have a sweet tooth or I'd be five hundred pounds by now.

                  Thanks again for turning me on to my new favorite tea!

                  Frank

              2. Magnolia Bakery cupcakes -- Totally yummy!

                1. d
                  deb-in-billyburg

                  Definitely worth the trip, but do yourself a favor and sample its wares mid-afternoon or on a weeknight; on weekend evenings, that place is mobbed, and you can forget about grabbing a seat and enjoying a nice glass of milk with your cake or cookies.

                  1. a
                    anonymous bosch

                    this opinion may be considered sacreligious by some people, however, all their cakes look like they were frosted by someone more expert in finger-painting than cake-frosting. maybe they taste good, but i've never been able to get past their dilapidated appearance.

                    1. Does anyone know if Maganolia makes the ice cream they are peddling on the sidewalk? If it's not house-made, who makes it?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: JesseLou

                        I think they make it themselves IIRC but I didn't think it was very flavorful when I tried it.

                        Frank

                        1. re: Iron Frank

                          Not all of their flavors are on the top of my list, but their white chocolate peanut brittle is amazing.

                        2. re: JesseLou

                          i read an article last year about their ice cream, it's made by a nj farm. dn't remmber the name of the farm though, but if you are at the library, you might want to search the nytimes dining section, May 16, 2001

                          link is a query search to the online ver

                          Link: http://query.nytimes.com/search/abstr...

                        3. LOVE the cupcakes, though the only ones for me are the ones with yellow cake and vanilla buttercream frosting (often tinted in various colors). The chocolate ones are less impressive, in my opinion. I also like the banana pudding, and have always wanted to try the hummingbird cake but have a hard time getting past the cupcakes.

                          The ice cream is homemade, and I think it may even be sold in some stores in the area (possibily Jefferson Market or Balduccis, but don't quote me on that). It's probably best to call the store and ask.

                          Oh, and I have the Magnolia Bakery cookbook. I've tried some of the recipes and they are quite tasty. But I live about five blocks from the bakery itself, so it saves time for me to just go there -- not to mention the fact that I can just buy one cupcake/cookie there and not get stuck with a whole batch.

                            1. It's the bomb. Nilla wafers and all.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: CRS

                                You know, it's not exactly PUDDING, but your post reminded me that...

                                Last night I had the most amazing "steamed banana cake with coconut milk" for desert at my now-favorite Vietnamese restaurant, Saigon Fun on 9th Avenue & 52nd St.

                              2. the banana pudding is so good!

                                -----
                                Magnolia Bakery
                                401 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: aidam.

                                  This post is five years old. I can't believe you have resurrected it. However, since we on the topic, I will say that the quality of the cupcakes seems to have declined in the last few years -- if memory serves, around the time that Sex and the City went into reruns in 2004 and the lines at Magnolia started wrapping around the block. I guess they can't handle the volume so the cupcakes are baked ahead and frozen rather than fresh. Now there are dozens of competing cupcake bakeries in the city, all good if you like that sort of thing, so you should have your pick.

                                  1. A polite dissent: Magnolia, how shall I put it, sucks. I've had better everywhere. The continued hype astounds me. This place has lasted longer on past rep. than Mamma Leoni's (a New York legend in past-it's-prime mediocrity).

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: addictedtolunch

                                      3, 6 12, bakers dozen, I told you I love those cupcakes, cousin.

                                    2. It's worth the trip. Maybe not the moistest cupcakes in the world but they're so cute and the shop is too. Worse case scenario - you waste a couple bucks on a dessert. But I liked it enough to go there a couple times on a recent visit to the city.

                                      1. The cupcakes are defiantly worth the trip from lower Westchester. Agreed with what others have said about their cakes, the banana cake was very good I loved how they used the cream cheese. It gave it a richer taste.

                                        I will be stopping in again.

                                        Anyone know any amazing bakeries in Westchester?
                                        Thanks!

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Chuckaroo1991

                                          Try Sugar Sweet Sunshine on the Lower East Side. Better cupcakes...better atmosphere.

                                          1. re: pastoralia

                                            i dk about that atmosphere. tourists vs hipsters? that's a toss-up.

                                            we stopped in MAGNOLIA around thanksgiving during a rare tourista lull and grabbed up a few cupcakes. i remember one was a hannukah version. another had red velvet cake inside. all good stuff. one was even good later on with morning coffee after it had gone stale.

                                            not worth fighting lines for, but otherwise go for it.

                                        2. I still think that cupcakes from a box mix are better than the ones at Magnolia. If you really want to get cupcakes from a cupcake store, go to Sugar Sweet Sunshine. I don't think their frosting is very good, but the cupcakes themselves are, particularly the pistachio.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: scarlet starlet

                                            I wish they'd just do a regular chocolate frosting instead of that gross almond/chocolate frosting.

                                            1. re: scarlet starlet

                                              I don't think SSS is any better than Magnolia. I just don't get the hype over either of these places. And I can't believe people are still on that cupcake bandwagon.

                                              I'd much rather visit Amy's Bread and have a really great piece of cake instead of a trendy cupcake that's dry and lacks flavor.

                                              And if I see them at one more wedding!

                                            2. I know I'm a minority...but I absolutely adore their cupcakes.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. can't say i love their cupcakes, definitely think they are a bit overrated. for me there is WAY too much icing and the cake itself is just alright. then again that seems to be the draw for most people(icing). however i have always liked their banana pudding.

                                                1. i walk by all these people (and by people I mean tourists) waiting on line and i can't help but think how foolish they are! Magnolia is so medicore and not worth the long waits in line. Billy's on 9th Avenue (at 22nd St) is so much better. Besides their cupcakes, their carrot cake is my favorite in the city...I dream about it! And their chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream icing is incredible.

                                                  1. I've had their cupcakes and cookies and don't see what the fuss is about.

                                                    The cookies were just plain bad.

                                                    The cupcakes weren't anything special other than the fact they had a LOT of icing on them. If that's what you want, icing's easy enough to make and you can have a dozen much better cupcakes baked and iced long before you can goto Magnolia, wait in line, buy them, and return home.

                                                    1. This place is plain awful. The service is rude and the cupcakes are really not that good. This place used to be so great.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: tigrknot

                                                        Dunkin hines makes a better cupcake....

                                                      2. I took two bites of my cupcake before throwing it out. It was enough to make me sugar sick. I don't understand why people like this bakery. The cupcakes were dry and WAY too sweet! If you look at the recipe, the cupcakes have more sugar in them than flour. Insane!! I couldn't believe that people wait in line for this.

                                                        http://unhipsquirrel.blogspot.com/

                                                        -----
                                                        Magnolia Bakery
                                                        401 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: unhipsquirrel

                                                          If you do a search on CH you'll see that a LOT of people don't like their cupcakes. I'm partial to the icebox cake instead.

                                                        2. In my opinion, Absolutely NOT! We had a birthday party at work yesterday and I got a chance to sample 2 cakes - the chocolate and a white cake with frosting.

                                                          After a couple bites of both, I tossed them. No use gaining weight over something akin to grocery store cake.

                                                          Overall, the chocolate cake was better than the white cake, but just marginally.

                                                          The white cake was very dry and I tasted a bit of the icing and it was more like the sugar-laden frostings you get at grocery stores. I prefer light icings/buttercreams that practically melt in your mouth. Yea, it's the butter but I'm pick deliciously tasting butter/sugar over globs of sugar. The frosting tasted like sugar crystals. No depth to the flavor at all. I bet it was 1/2 butter, 1/2 shortening, add a cup of sugar, food coloring and slap that on the cake. Also, they lose a lot of points for the cake being so dry. If that was day-old cake, it should not have been sold.

                                                          The chocolate cake was better, but not by much. The cake part was not dry so that was good. The frosting I felt was yet again too sweet. Some people like that, but I'm not crazy about overly-sweet frosting. I think if the cake if good enough, you don't have to mask it with the overly sweet frosting.

                                                          I just started baking less than a year ago and maybe it's just me, but I did not feel this case was worth it at all. By the way, the cake I tasted was from Magnolia in Chicago.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: nikkib99

                                                            nikkib99: "I think if the cake if good enough, you don't have to mask it with the overly sweet frosting."

                                                            BINGO! I think the problem is that a lot of people have had their palates corrupted by the outrageous amount of sugar, salt and fat in commercially baked goods. When I eat, I like to taste the flavour of the food I'm eating, not just the sugar. Cake has a flavour - magnolia should allow their cupcakes to show it.