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Jun 25, 2002 04:45 AM

Magnolia Bakery

  • b

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


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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.


    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.


            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.


              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.


            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,


              1. re: Akiko
                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


                  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!


              2. Magnolia Bakery cupcakes -- Totally yummy!

                1. d

                  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.


                        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