Friends from New York as well as shows like Sex and the City rave about Magnolia Bakery as the ultimate cup cake fantasy destination and also as a purely New York gourmet style statement. So I was quite surprised to walk by what else, Magnolia Bakery along State Street! (The New York legacy is very dear to these bakers for underneath its name on the store window, a subtitle proudly says “New York City“.)
Of course, I had to go in and try their famous Banana Pudding.
The Banana Pudding turned out too sweet for me but I fell in love with Magnolia’s decor and its to-die-for Red Velvet cup cake. Hands down, the best cup cake I have ever tasted. It was soft, slightly crumbly with the most delicious cream cheese frosting ever. My palate seems to think that the trick is an extra pinch of salt that just makes the sweetness of the cake and the slight tartness of the frosting just pop and meld in your mouth. Hmm…
And the decor!
Tiny metal chairs not quite befitting the American idea of size in wonderful pastels that match the room are spread along storefront windows slightly covered with lace curtains and foam Easter egg decorations. Along the walls there are interesting knickknacks, aprons and old world posters that scream 1950s. Look up and you’ll find clothesline(s) complete with clothes happily clipped along, dangling from the ceiling.
My favorite piece of decor happens to be this “art work” drawn on a black board and hoisted right by the entry point of a very long queue to the cashiers. The board kind of neatly ties in the interior of the bakery with the world outside. (Magnolia sits right beside the ‘L’ Red line’s entrance.) Giving you company as you wait your turn are a variety of cup cakes from red velvet and lemon to plain vanilla, biscuits, muffins, puddings, giant cakes and coffee, of course!
I also enjoyed watching the experts in the process of making cakes which you can see from the seating area.
Magnolia Bakery, I have to say, lives up to its name. It is not overpriced by any means, a cupcake is about $3.50 (I think). Coffee is quite good and service is friendly and efficient. I would definitely suggest a visit if you are in Chicago, New York or Dubai. If you aren’t in these places, you can still order online at their website.