The Cupcake Bouncer

This past Friday, while visiting NYC, I dragged my husband and great aunt and uncle to the famous Magnolia's Bakery in Chelsea. Having seen the bakery and its cupcakes featured on numerous Food Network shows, and having read about the delectable virtues of the cupcakes on several food blogs, I knew I had to make Magnolia's a part of my most recent visit to the City. My companions, however, didn't quite understand the allure of the bakery, but indulged my desire anyway.

As we were walking down Bleecker Street, I warned my companions about something I had read about Magnolia's online-namely, that it was extremely popular, though very tiny on the inside, so people often had to wait in lines outside. But, I also had read that the lines move quickly. I hadn't read anything that indicated why this was so. However, once we arrived, the truth behind the smooth progression of Magnolia's lines became evident: Magnolia's has a bouncer.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. We arrived at 401 Bleecker Street and saw that there was a line that wrapped around the corner outside of the building. We queued up, and my uncle (who is about to turn 81, and is as sharp as a tack) says "I would have bought you two Hostess cupcakes for 99 cents!" Neither my aunt nor my uncle nor my husband could understand why we were standing outside, in a long line, in 40-something degree weather, with a biting wind blowing...for cupcakes. I was hopeful the cupcakes we would enjoy would not disappoint.

The line moved at a pretty good clip. Once we arrived near the front of the line, we realized why. There was a bouncer standing at the door. He asked for the number in your party. He scanned the tiny bakery, and once there was enough room to let more people in, he moved aside from his post blocking the door and you were allowed to enter. He was kind, though, and didn't resemble your typical bouncer in that his neck was normal sized and his forearms didn't resemble large hams.

Once we got inside, I took in the 1940s-styled design of the bakery, the mixers whirring, and the employees frosting cupcakes in full view of visitors, and then scrambled toward the stars of the show, arranged on baking sheets toward the front of the store. There were four varieties to choose from. Vanilla with vanilla buttercream frosting, vanilla with chocolate frosting, chocolate with vanilla frosting, and chocolate with chocolate frosting. The cupcakes were each decorated with some sort of sprinkles or sugar candies, and piled high with loads of frosting. My husband and I had decided ahead of time that we were going to buy four cupcakes. Given my loathing for all things chocolate, I selected two vanillas with vanilla, and my husband chose one of the same, plus one chocolate with vanilla frosting.

We got in line to pay for our cupcakes, and scanned the bakery case by the register for other desserts. Magnolia also makes cookies, cheesecake, and a variety of other traditional cakes. My husband chose a small, individual-sized vanilla bean cheesecake to take back to the hotel with us as well. We approached the register, paid for our $1.75-each cupcakes, plus the cheesecake, and hustled out of Magnolia. As we were leaving, my uncle asked the bouncer how many cupcakes Magnolia sells a day. 10,000. Magnolia's sells 10,000 cupcakes in one day!

Back at the hotel later that night, and after I had finished taking some photos of the cupcakes (coming later this week), we sampled what we purchased. Magnolia's cupcakes did not disappoint. The cake itself was not overly sweet. It was dense, flavorful, and most certainly unlike any cupcake I had ever tasted. Many cupcakes I've had virtually fall apart almost before you bite into them because they are so light. And most all cupcakes I've tasted have been extremely sweet as well. But Magnolia's cupcakes were sturdy little fellas, and the majority of the sweetness came from the thick and delicious buttercream frosting swirled on top. We each ate one, saved the other two for Saturday night, and then dug into the mini cheesecake, which was incredible as well. Worth the wait, worth the price, and worth the trip down to Chelsea. I'd recommend a visit to Magnolia's for anyone with a sweet tooth who is planning on visiting the City.

And in pizza news: when we returned from seeing Wicked on Friday night, my husband and I tucked the old folks into bed in their room, and ordered our annual pizza from Ray's. It arrived at midnight, a time when I'm normally fast asleep, but we were both starved, having not eaten dinner that night because we had indulged at Chelsea Market, and then, of course, on the cupcakes. We each had three enormous, cheesy slices, and went to bed an hour later with full and bloated bellies.

5 Responses to “The Cupcake Bouncer”

  1. # Blogger Marie

    Oh, it all sounds so perfect, Kristi! You guys know how to do it right in NYC!!!

    $1.75 for a cupcake?! Must be a DANG good little cake. Sounds like it was. Mmmm. I could practically taste it from your description. 10,000 cupcakes a day. That is serious!

    And I'm glad the bouncer had a neck & left his hams at home. LOL!  

  2. # Blogger Dawn

    MMMM. Sounds yummy. I have to stop reading blogs when I'm hungry! Cheesy pizza sounds so good!  

  3. # Blogger Amy

    I, too, have read a lot about Magnolia bakery and you are yet another person who says the trip is worth it. It's hard for me to believe that about cupcakes, but all you guys can't be wrong, LOL.  

  4. # Blogger Pamplemousse

    Twice now I have not made it to the Magnolia on my trips to NYC. I really must make it next time!  

  5. # Blogger Kristi

    Marie-yup. $1.75. Total sticker shock, but well worth it.

    SoCal-I have the same problem. I read food blogs when I'm hungry, and that's not so good!

    Amy-totally worth a visit. We're all right!

    PampleMousse-Thanks for stopping by my blog. I can't recommend a visit to Magnolia enough. You won't be disappointed.  

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