I sometimes forget that I now have access to shops and products that I have been swooning over while living in Singapore. Hence it came as a huge but pleasant surprise when I stumbled upon Magnolia Bakery in downtown Chicago the other day. When the cupcake craze started a few years ago, I remember that Magnolia in New York was one of the bakeries leading the trend. They only have 2 stores in US that is outside of New York, one in LA and one right here in Chicago. 🙂
Usually, I’m not much of a sweet tooth but I make exceptions for cupcakes! I’ve had pretty good ones back home in Singapore. The office is right by Holland V, so making trips to Plain Vanilla was a common affair during lunch time. And I do love their Salted Caramel and Lavender Earl Grey Special. PV remains the only cupcakes I would eat back home. But Magnolia… wow, I wasn’t expecting to be so blown away.
Am not sure how it is with other stores but this particular one in Chicago is a sit down cafe with cakes and ice cream pies on the menu besides cupcakes. Coffee and tea is also available in the menu. Cute T-shirts, aprons and Magnolia cook books were on sale as well.
The cafe was decked out in a pretty mint and cream hue. It also had hints of lace and floral prints which reminded me very much of Cath Kidston. Would have been a lovely place to rest for an afternoon tea break. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time that day, so we took away a few cupcakes to bring home.
We brought back a Red Velvet, a Chocolate with Vanilla, Peanut Butter & Jelly (with a grape jelly in the middle!) and a Pistachio. I would say that PV is pretty comparable in terms of the cake texture and taste but the butter cream frosting at Magnolia was divine and cannot be beat. I later found out it was not just normal butter cream here at Magnolia but a MERINGUE butter cream. It was a lot more fluffy and light, almost like eating a melted marshmallow cloud.
My favourite was the Pistachio that I dived right into once I reached home. The Red Velvet was also really very well done, with a not too sweet cream cheese frosting, the best I’ve had. I did find the Peanut Butter a little cloying and the Chocolate was pretty normal.
The husband who usually doesn’t like sweets loved it too, testimony to how yummy these were. Can’t wait to go back and I need to try the Lemon cupcake the next time.Magnolia Bakery Chicago 108 N. State Street at Block 37 (near State/Lake CTA Red Line)