Magnolia Bakery is one of the best known cupcake bakeries anywhere, thanks in part to a few mentions on the popular TV show Sex and the City a few years back. The real reason that Magnolia is so successful is not simply because they were mentioned on TV. The real reason is that their cupcakes. They keep things simple with cupcakes that aren’t too fancy, or over-the-top, and they do them very well.
Magnolia has several locations these days. They have the original shop in New York, one in Dubai, one in Chicago and another in Los Angeles. I happened to pass by the LA location recently and made a u-turn so that I could stop in for a cupcake break. I had a classic vanilla with vanilla buttercream, which is a flavor that they always have available, and a chocolate cupcake with caramel frosting. The vanilla was a good, fluffy vanilla cupcake and the buttercream toppping it was classic American. You can’t go wrong with this cupcake and there is a nice vanilla flavor to it.
The chocolate cupcake was a touch drier than the vanilla, although still tasty and with a good chocolate flavor, but the caramel frosting on top was impressive. That was a meringue-based buttercream ith a dark caramel flavor, almost like the topping of a creme brulee. I was impressed that they packed in a lot of that real caramel flavor and tht the frosting wasn’t too sweet. It was a great match for the chocolate cake.
These pictures don’t do the bakery justice, but it did get quite crowded while I was in there, which made it difficult to navigate around for photo opportunities. So, you’ll just have to take my word for it when I assure you that the bakery is incredibly cute and well decorated, with a number of tables both inside and outside on the sidewalk for patrons to sit at. I would go back just to have a cup of coffee and relax – even if they didn’t have cupcakes – because it is just that appealing of a place. Checkerboard floor, pale green walls, high ceilings, vintage light fixtures and lots of domed glass containers showcasing cakes, sprinkles and various other baked goods are just a few of the features you’ll notice in there.
The only thing that I would change is to make more cupcake flavors available at one time. On this visit, there were several iterations of chocolate and vanilla cake, a seasonal cupcake and the chocolate cupcake with caramel frosting (which I tried). They had layer cakes in more flavors, including a delightful looking pistachio, but as good as they looked, I was there for the cupcakes. That just means I’ll have to go back again and see what else they’re offering the next time I’m in the neighborhood!
8389 West 3rd Street
Los Angeles, CA 90048