Sunday, August 1, 2010

Magnolia Bakery, It's That Good!

Living in Manhattan in the pre-Sex in the City nineties, I was a big fan of Magnolia Bakery. Back then, before the massive cupcake craze that Magnolia spawned, it was crowded and cramped but more of a popular neighborhood joint than the baked goods juggernaut that it became a few years later. And it was great. I always preferred the layer cakes to the cupcakes, but everything had a lovely, homemade flavor. It wasn't fancy; all of the baked goods tasted like stuff someone's grandmother might have made.

I was pretty hesitant about hitting the new LA branch of Magnolia that opened last week. Having not been to the New York branch since before it hit the bigtime, I had no idea if the New York branch was still great, much less a satellite 3,000 miles away from the mothership.

I'm happy to report that my anxiety was not merited. We headed over to Magnolia last weekend and it was all there: cakes with light, moist cake topped with beautiful, fluffy buttercream in white and chocolate; red velvet cupcakes with clouds of white frosting. (Magnolia are masters of buttercream, I could eat their frosting out of a bowl.) It tasted just the same as I remembered, like the best homemade cakes you've ever had...the most comforting of comfort food.

The coconut cake was another triumph. It's a yellow cake with coconut mixed throughout, layered with a coconut cream. The frosting is a sticky meringue, which somehow retains both its fluffiness but also a creamy quality that's unusual in, say, a meringue pie topping.

And then there is the banana pudding. One of Magnolia's trademark dishes, it's more akin to a mousse or custard than a pudding. Studded with Nilla Wafers, it is light and fluffy in texture but also rich and creamy with a subtle banana flavor. I don't usually even like banana pudding and I can't stop eating this stuff.

So despite the hype and the TV fame, I'm proud to report that Magnolia lives up to its reputation, and then some. In fact, it may well be the best bakery in LA.

Magnolia Bakery
8389 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 951-0636


Anonymous said...


Thank you sooooo much. As the owner and head of the creative team of Magnolia, I was delighted to read your blog. I want you to know that we don't really go looking for all the attention Magnolia gets on TV or otherwise. We just seem to get it. Our daily focus is to have enormous integrity about everything we do. We work our tails off every single day to make the best baked goods we possibly can and to give our patrons a special experience. As you stated, we're not about fancy desserts but rather simple, home made vintage feeling desserts that are baked fresh all day, every day from really nice ingredients.

I LOVED working on the LA store. The space is magnificent and welcoming. Our staff has been marvelous and of course, we sent some of our NYC staff to live out there full time so the "old blood" could bring some NY residue to our new home in LA.

I so appreciate you getting it about what we do and thanks again for your vote of confidence and your great descriptions. Next time, try some of our breakfast goods. The organic fruit muffins are delicious and the lemon bundt cake will make your eyes roll back in your head it's so good!

All the best,


sku said...

Thanks for your comments Tyra. Keep up the good work!