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Magnolia Bakery cupcakes...they ARE good!

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  • nooodles Oct 3, 2005 12:33 PM
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Wow. No wonder people who move away from NYC are always posting the question "Where can I get a good, down home cupcake like at Magnolia?"

Never having been to Magnolia, I can't say how close I got to their version. But if their cupcakes are anything like what came out of my oven, I haven't had a storebought cupcake this good in San Francisco.

The thing that wowed me the most was the cake batter. This batter is the stuff nostalgia is made of. A lick of it and I wanted to cartwheel through some sprinklers and chase an ice cream truck down the street.

The end product is a very light, very fluffy white cupcake. The buttercream icing is as American as you can get. It pipes beautifully, and at room temperature it develops that slightly crunchy outside that helps it keep its shape but doesn't affect the soft creaminess of the icing.

Link: http://www.accordingtolayla.com/pdfs/...

Image: http://www.jimmyshang.com/peggy/blahg...

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  1. Thank you for indulging my sense of self-satisfaction.

    Image: http://www.jimmyshang.com/peggy/blahg...

    1 Reply
    1. re: nooodles

      Thank you for sharing with us!

    2. Oh, those look so cute and delightful!! I may have to give this recipe a try. Did you use the self-rising flour as called for in the recipe? I don't have any and don't feel like adding to my flour pantry. Anyone know if I can sub w/ AP or bread flour and just add some leavening agents instead?

      4 Replies
      1. re: Carb Lover

        Forgot to mention that I used all a/p flour.

        I googled "self-rising flour substitution." The things you need to add are baking powder and salt, but I found variations in proportions from site to site. I settled on one from King Arthur Flour: 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt per one cup of flour.

        That means that for one batch of cupcakes as per Magnolia's recipe, I used 2 1/4 tsp baking powder (Calumet) and 3/4 tsp salt (Morton's kosher).

        1. re: nooodles
          Becca Porter

          I'll bet they used SR flour because it is bleached and usually softer like cake flour.

          As a southern biscuit baker I have some on hand and can't wait to try them! Thank You.

          1. re: nooodles

            Thanks, nooodles. Did you use regular or superfine (either homemade or storebought) sugar? I know that cupcakes can be frozen and such, but I really just want to make half the recipe. Instincts tell me it should be ok, but any apparent reason why that would be a bad idea?

            1. re: Carb Lover

              I used my usual: regular granulated sugar zipped in the food processor until powdery.

              During the initial step of creaming with the butter, the sugar was a little gritty. It really mellowed out after the other dry ingredients and eggs were added, though. Just power through the recipe and you'll be fine.

              I can't see why halving would be a problem. I halved the frosting after I saw how much batter the recipe made, and it was fine.

        2. I must absolutely agree with you about this recipe. Of course, there's no substitute for the real thing if you happen to be in New York, but this recipe is really great if you're craving a good cupcake! The first time I made these, I cooked them a little long and found they were a little on the dry side. The second time I made them I watched closely for 'doneness' and they were just perfect. I took in a double batch to work and they were gone within the hour. If you like cupcakes, you will love these.

          Link: http://www.tartingitup.com/tarting_it...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Tartinka

            I found that after the first batch (slightly underdone) I could get a good sense of whether they were ready by looking and touching lightly. Each cook will have to figure it out individually, though.

          2. They are really beautiful--especially the 'nudie' ones (unfrosted) in your second photo post. You should be proud!

            1. They are really beautiful--especially the 'nudie' ones (unfrosted) in your second photo post. You should be proud!

              1. Thanks to everyone for feedback.

                To you avid cake decorators out there--how would I make my swirl look like it's "tucked in" in the center instead of pointing up? Just swirl and squeeze it into the center instead of lifting up?

                Also, the icing for this sets up a little. I set the bag in front of a fan while the cupcakes cooled, and I had to hold the tip end between my palms for a few seconds to warm it up a little before I could pipe without it breaking off in ugly jagged edges.

                5 Replies
                1. re: nooodles

                  You could try to tuck it in w/ a final motion downward; however, it might work better if you started at the center and then spiraled out? I don't see why you'd want them any other way though. They have such whimsy the way you did it, and I like how you can see some of the cake. I've been thinking about these cupcakes all day and may just be crazy enough to make them tonight assuming I have everything on hand! I've never been this excited about cupcakes til now...

                  1. re: Carb Lover

                    I just thought it would be fun to experiment with different styles.

                    Wow, I got you to stop thinking about ice cream. This might be bad...

                    PS. I made your coconut banana ice cream on the same day, and it was wonderful. I wish I could say the cupcakes and ice cream go together, but buttercream frosting just doesn't go with ice cream, IMO.

                    1. re: nooodles
                      Becca Porter

                      I made these yesterday. They were as good as you said they were.

                      I piped without a tip, just a coupler. I started in the center and spiriled out. It looked much better than when I started at the edges. They looked like pink and green flowers.

                      Thanks for the recipe!

                      1. re: Becca Porter


                        Word to the wise: share. I made a LOT of these to bring to work, but there were so many left that I took a few home and ate them after dinner. I was so hopped up on sugar I couldn't sleep until about 3 hours past my normal bedtime.

                        1. re: nooodles
                          Becca Porter

                          Actually I invited my sister to dinner for the sole reason being that I was going to have 24 of these cupcakes. We enjoyed them!

                2. You know, you might be making better cupcakes than Magnolia does! I used to live a few blocks away, and while the bakery smelled great, the cupcakes were way too sweet, generally bland and flavorless. The icing was heavy, overly buttery and again, way too sweet. So enjoy your own version--you're not missing anything! Plus, there's always a line--on weekend afternoons, people can end up waiting an hour just to pay $1.75 for a cupcake!

                  Link: http://piequeen.blogspot.com/