It is a blessing and a curse that I live near the famous Magnolia Bakery. I have to pass by the little shop on the corner of Bleecker and Eleventh Street in Greenwich Village each time I walk to campus and back home again.
The smell of their cakes made on the premise lure me in and usually you can even see the cakes being laden with icing by employees in front of the passing windows, taunting me. Worse still, is that when ever my friends come to visit they insist we walk to the bakery for their delicious butter cream cupcakes and I find I'm accompanying some out-of-towner friend of mine twice a week, especially since they are open till midnight, damn them.
The bakery opened up in the West Village in 1996 and their cupcakes were made famous to non New York residents after an episode of Sex and The City showed its stars eagerly consuming them. Now, tour buses dock on the corner and bring groups of tourists to delve upon the shoebox-sized shop.
I usually know better and try not to visit on the weekends because starting on Fridays and lasting through Sunday there is literally a line around the block. When my friend stopped by on a Saturday night, we waited for 20 minutes in the cold, lined up 11th street. In line we spoke with a gay couple who also live nearby and have been coming here for years for the German Chocolate Cake. In front of us were two groups of young women from DC and California, posing for photos underneath the blue awning marked Magnolia Bakery.
Inside the demand for cupcakes makes it necessary for the staff to constantly make more cupcakes in a side room and an employee to steadily fold take-out cardboard boxes. There is a sign on the window that says "Limit: One Dozen Cupcakes Per Customer." The store itself is really small, but they manage to cram and I mean "cram" at least 15 to 20 people inside the old-fashionably decorated store. Another employee mans the door and allows more customers in, only once others exit. That's how tiny and popular the store is.
When you are waiting with cupcake boxes in hand to select these divine eats, sometimes they run out of the vanilla cupcakes, which are better and more moist than their chocolate ones, and that's when things can get a bit ugly. But the quick working staff usually bring out two new trays within 5 mins.
This most intriguing part is that although the bakery is a big hot spot and included on NYC tours, it remains true to its unpretentious roots. The store doesn't even have a website, yet has published two cookbooks that are ranked #3,847 on Amazon. The inside of the store has a 50s dinner appeal with Formica counters and wallpapered walls.
If you plan on visiting the city or the area soon, this bakery is a must ... hey, and I'll go with you.
The Magnolia Cookbooks:
My other magnolia cupcake post, yes I am obsessed.
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