Status: Opens tomorrow
Having already frosted much of Manhattan, media darling Magnolia Bakery finally opens its doors in Los Angeles tomorrow. It’s been a long time coming, but now Angelenos don’t have to fly cross-country to get a Magnolia fix. The cupcake shop embraced New York when it opened in 1996, offering classic favorites previously found only in grandmothers’ kitchens in Connecticut. But how to translate an East Coast sensation into something Angelenos would like? The Abrams brothers, owners of Magnolia bakery since 2007, needn’t worry. The branding on this old-fashioned shop is tried and true. And the proof is in the pudding. CEO Sina Clark says it all when she talks about cake, “We give you a big slice because your grandmother would have given you a big slice.”
As if to fit in with the Hollywood landscape, walking into Magnolia on West 3rd Street is like walking into a 1950s bakery. Many of the signs are hand written, the frosting is pastel-colored, the aprons are striped, the smiles are sweet. There’s a shelf of cookbooks and pastel colored t-shirts rolled into rosettes. Everywhere, behind glass, atop pedestals, inside this cabinet or that one, there is something sweet. The menu reads like any girl’s wish list: tall, whimsical cakes in flavors from Devil’s Food to Lemon to Flourless Chocolate, bar cookies, coffee cake, muffins (that look suspiciously as rich as a cupcake without frosting), pie, vanilla wafer banana pudding, and of course, the cupcakes. Classic cupcakes -- vanilla or chocolate cake -- are frosted in an assortment of pastel colors or chocolate buttercream. Specialty cupcakes like Coconut with Meringue, Banana with Caramel Meringue, and Carrot with Walnuts are served alongside old-fashioned regional classics like Hummingbird (extra sweet, with cream cheese frosting), German Chocolate with Coconut Icing and Red Velvet with Cream Cheese frosting. There are mini cupcakes. There are cupcakes for party favors. There are cupcake boxes and egg carton cupcake boxes. Order ahead and they will meet you outside with your treats.
If you can find a spot to park and have time to walk inside, it’s all a lot of fun to watch, much like you did when your grandmother was busy baking in her kitchen. The bakers, in white aprons, take turns frosting, slicing and decorating. Their motions are efficient and quick, the kitchen is spotless, and the results are all along the counter. The cupcakes are sprinkled, the cakes are iced, the pudding is set. Magnolia is finally here.
Additional Reading: All Magnolia Bakery Coverage
Additional Photos: Eater LA Flickr Page
— Daniela Galarza