Cupcake al fresco.

I first heard about Magnolia Bakery when I watched the SNL Digital Short, “Lazy Sunday.” (That’s also how I found out that Mr. Pibbs + Red Vines= Crazy Delicious.)

But back then, Magnolia was only in New York. Some of my friends who had been to Magnolia reported back that it was overrated, and that the manner in which the cupcakes were laid out for the choosing was… unsanitary. (For the record, when I was in NYC I didn’t look it up… my bad?) (Or my GOOD?)

Nonetheless, when I heard that Magnolia was coming to LA, I was excited. When it comes to cupcake stores, I say, “The more, the merrier!” (That’s because I don’t OWN a cupcake store.)

It also works out that the LA Magnolia is next door to the Benefit Boutique, which is where I get my eyebrows done. (I finally caved last Saturday and bought Benetint… I’m a little bit obsessed. It makes my lips look pretty, without looking like I’m wearing lipstick.) (Dear Boyz: We’re fooling you!)

I wasn’t necessarily in the mood to eat a cupcake (shocking, right?), but I figured as long as I was there I’d scope it out. But I didn’t want to buy more than one cupcake, or any red velvet. That’s best eaten in groups.

Sorry, sign. I will not be swayed.

Besides, Sara had been to Magnolia a few times (she’s more on top of her brows), and had been coached to avoid anything fancy and just get simple vanilla or chocolate.

The store itself is fairly simple in layout. There’s a line along a counter where you order and pay, and there’s an area to the side where you actually see people baking and frosting the cupcakes.

Thing is– you see these cupcakes just coming out of pans and looking like normal cupcakes you could bake at your house. But they’re not normal, because they’re, like, $4 each. (And if they best flavors are the simple ones… Duncan Hines, people.)

Oh, but there were cute shirts. I could see my sisters loving these shirts.

What does it mean, to cupcake something?

Is “cupcake” a verb now? Sounds like dirty innuendo.

All of the girls working behind the sales counter were wearing aprons and scarves around their heads, which gave them a very Amish/Orthodox Jew feeling. I’m not sure if they were any of those things.

Like I said, I wasn’t really going to order anything, but then I spotted a very simple honey cake cupcake (redundant?), not even frosted, and thought– oh hey, I didn’t get any Rosh Hashanah honey/spice cake/bread at Hillel. Maybe this honey cake could be my new High Holiday cake obsession.

Hey there, honey cakes.

Since I just got a single cupcake, I didn’t get a box. They kind of ingeniously put the cupcake in an upside-down cup. (Now it’s a CUP CAKE times two! Get it?) I thought it looked like a lunar module. That tickled my inner space geek. (I used to want to be an astronaut. Really.)

Intergalactic cupcake.

I was quite intrigued by this sign near the cash register. What’s a Magic Bar? Does it involve magic? Does it involve marijuana? I never found out.

This is how they lure the children...

Oops, I guess that picture had the T-shirts. No need for a separate T-shirt picture. Ah well, double dose of T-shirts. DEAL WITH IT.

Since the cupcake was very portable and I wasn’t super hungry and there wasn’t really anywhere to eat, I took it with me on my next errand and ended up eating it in the courtyard of the West Hollywood Gateway (aka the Target, for you locals).

I stole my napkins and knife from Baja Fresh. (Gracias!) For the sake of the photos and my own enjoyment, I like to cut my cupcakes into bite sized pieces. (And my pizza.) (I’m very proper.) (Actually– I eat everything I’m SUPPOSED to eat with a knife and fork with my hands. Go figure.)

Glamour shotz.

To my mild disappointment, the cupcake was just honey, no spice. It actually tasted like the cake version of a honey-flavored Teddy Graham. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

In case you don’t remember Teddy Grahams, this may jog your memory.

Childhood memories.

The packaging was different, when I was a kid. And I think the current bear is a little too in-your-face (with cookie nutrition facts?). Oh the times, they are a-changing.

But back to the cupcake. I don’t think it was as moist as Sprinkles. (OH– as I was driving from Magnolia to Target, I saw a Sprinkles store in the works on La Cienega, not far from the Beverly Center… also not far from the Beverly Hills location of Sprinkles. Lame?) [Oops– It’s actually an offshoot of the BH store… I defer to Crystal’s insight in the comments.]

The slight lack of moisture probably wouldn’t have been as apparent if the cupcake had been frosted… but that’s no excuse. (AS YOU KNOW, I’m not that into frosting, so I was fine without it.)

Is a frosting free cupcake even a cupcake? What’s keeping it from being a muffin?


Cole was coming to meet me at the Target, so I left some cupcake for him and luxuriated in the sun (a rarity, for me), listening to a guy on a cell phone ask his friend/maybe assistant for a sample of sand from Playa del Rey. I got a mild sunburn on my chest, and apparently walked away right as my improv classmate was approaching to say hi. (Sorry, Scott.)

I like big shadows and I cannot lie.

Sometimes it’s nice to take a few minutes to just sit back, relax, and eavesdrop on strangers. (I also eavesdrop on strangers while carrying on conversations with friends… very talented ears.)

So… that was Magnolia. I definitely want to try some other flavors, especially with Lauren/Sara/Bea/GIRLZ (sorry Cole, you were great). The more people, the more flavors we can try.

I cupcake my friends! (EW!)

Oh, and I STILL need to find a new honey/spice bread/cake. Applications will be accepted year round.


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5 thoughts on “Snack Trek: MAGNOLIA BAKERY

  1. I wasn’t too impressed when I went to Magnolia the first time, but now I am OBSESSED with their simple chocolate cupcake with chocolate frosting…de-lish.
    Also their banana pudding is kind of fabulous, as well as their whoopie cookies that they don’t always have.
    (Yes I have gone a lot…it’s right by my house…sue me!)

    1. Thanks! We should have a snack adventure one of these days! And I will never judge your visits to Magnolia… you can see that I’m eating crazy desserts far more often than your average bear.

  2. Very good to know! I’ve been meaning to try Magnolia, but also don’t believe it could beat Sprinkles. They have the market on MOIST (I hate that word) cupcakes. So moist that when you take a bite, the cake makes whispering noises. Another place I like is Famous Cupcakes, it’s on Beverly Blvd between Wilshire and Olympic. Oh and the spot on La Cienega isn’t another Sprinkles store; it’s a tiny little walk-up storefront that BH store owns. It’s called “The Pantry” and it’s only open during their insanity times of the year (Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc) and you can preorder your cupcakes and just pick it up on La Cienega to avoid the madness of the wretched BH store. OH, random tidbit of news – the store next to Sprinkles went out of business and they bought the store and plan to make a much bigger and much needed space!

    1. Ah! You’re so wise. I also feel icky about the word “moist,” but I can’t think of anything better. I generally try to say “moisture,” as it seems a little less… yeah. We need to invent a new word, here.

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