14 November 2011
Beloved since its first mention on Sex and the City all those years ago, magnolia has become (to those who don't know any better) the quintessential old-timey new york bakery: the lacey curtains and black-and-white tiled floors, the perpetual cloud of sugar and flour in the doorway, and of course those fabled, dainty cupcakes frosted in pretty pastels. I've been to magnolia at least six or seven times - I love the idea of it, the atmosphere, and just haven't been ready to give up on the idea - but feel, at last, like I can walk away. I've discovered just too many other, better bakeries in this cupcake-obsessed city (for future reference, my favorites currently stand as: butter lane, sugar sweet sunshine, molly's, buttercup, sprinkles, and - if only because it's by far the closest to my apartment - crumbs). Bottom line: magnolia's cupcakes are dry, and the frosting is cloyingly, almost sickeningly sweet. Yes, they're pretty, but they aren't worth it.
That said, magnolia has other treats to offer. For whatever reason, I've found that their cakes, particularly the devil's food, coconut and carrot, tend to be far more moist than their cupcakes. And their lemon squares and magic cookie bars (chocolate chips, coconut, walnuts and graham crackers) are delicious. So go if you must (and let's be honest, I'm sure I'll be back), but if I were you, I'd grab a couple magic cookie bars then scoot on out the door and head elsewhere for cupcakes.
Grand Central Terminal
(for exact locations, see website)