Magnolia Bakery

As I mentioned last week in our Christmas post, Elisa and I stopped by Magnolia Bakery‘s Rockefeller Center location this past month since we were in the area. Even though it isn’t our favorite cupcake place in the city, we were both hoping to try their Chocolate Truffle Cupcake, but they were out that night. So instead, we got the Rockette Red Velvet, a classic Vanilla with Chocolate frosting, and a Pistachio cupcake. Unfortunately none of them were very good. Since we already posted about the Rockette Red Velvet in our Christmas post, we wanted to share our thoughts on the other two.


Like the Red Velvet, the cake was very dense and dry. The redeeming quality to this cupcake was the flavor. It really did have great pistachio flavor. I wouldn’t go all the way back to NYC for this cupcake, but it ended up being the best of the three.

Classic Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

The cake on this cupcake was the same as the Pistachio and Red Velvet. Dense and dry. I’m not sure if everyone experiences this with their cupcakes, but at the rate they were baking them that night, freshness shouldn’t have been an issue. The “cupcake care” instructions on their website state that if you plan to store them (which we did for just one night) they should be kept in an airtight container at room temperature (which we always do). This didn’t change the fact that the cake was still dry. The creamy frosting could have saved this cupcake, but it was more of a milk chocolate, which I’m not really a fan of.

Despite the let down with their cupcakes (which they are known for) Magnolia does have some great aspects that I love. First, the look of their cupcakes. I mean, seriously? How cute are they? They are almost too pretty to eat.

Second, their packaging.

Being a graphic designer, I pay a lot of attention to details like that and they do not cut corners when it comes to this. Even though I only got one cupcake (and a pumpkin whoopie pie – more on that later) they still placed my cupcake in a pretty box and a gave me a pretty bag to take with me. This gives them MAJOR points.

Not only does their packaging look good, but their cupcake boxes are top notch.

See those little “cupcake grips” to the bottom right of the photo above? This cupcake isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Since they are located in NYC, it is really important to have secure cupcake packaging when you are hopping on and off of buses and subways and making your way through the crowds. Magnolia’s boxes do not disappoint.

I was also very impressed with our service that evening. Since it is the holiday season, it was packed, but the employees were all really nice and kept the line moving along. It’s easy to get frustrated when you are behind the counter dealing with a crowd like that, but they didn’t let that effect them.

Last, – this alone would make me go back – their pumpkin whoopie pie was AMAZING. Like, heart stopping “OMG” amazing. I wish I had taken a photo of it, but that little treat didn’t even make it back to the car. I was only going to take one bite, but before I knew it, I was finished. Unlike the cupcakes, the cake portion was super moist and rich with pumpkin flavor and spices. The cream cheese filling was an appropriate sweetness and had a nice smooth fluffy texture. This whoopie pie was worth the wait in line.

What are your thoughts on Magnolia Bakery compared to other cupcake shops? Let us know, we would love to hear!

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy (Baltimore, MD)


Very Merry Christmas Cupcakes

Throughout the month of December the Crusaders (and a friend of the Crusaders)  have been gathering Christmas themed cupcakes to share in one big post. We hope you enjoy these reviews as you spend these next couple of days wrapping presents, baking, and spending time with family.

Crumbs Bake Shop – NYC
This year Crumbs had an assortment of cupcakes decorate and flavored for Christmas. Unfortunately, when Crusader Elisa and I stopped by they only had the following two, Vanilla/Vanilla and Vanilla/Chocolate with holiday sprinkles. We decided to go ahead and give them a try, since we haven’t had any of Crumbs classic flavors and we had waited in a long line. We were so glad we did!

(Crumbs Bake Shop’s Vanilla Cake with Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting)

This cupcake blew me away! I’m still often pleasantly surprised by how good a vanilla cupcake can be. The cake was light, moist and very buttery. It brought back memories of the vanilla cake my mom used to make when I was a kid. The vanilla cream cheese frosting was the perfect compliment and it was double perfect because I ate half of this cupcake for breakfast. Vanilla is quickly becoming a favorite flavor of mine, which is still a bit shocking to me.

(Crumbs Bake Shop’s Vanilla Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting)

The cake on this cupcake was exactly like the cake on the Vanilla/Vanilla cupcake. The frosting was just as light a fluffy as the vanilla cream cheese frosting, but the milk-chocolatiness of it complimented the vanilla cake perfectly.

Magnolia Bakery – NYC
While visiting NYC Elisa and I also stopped by Magnolia Bakery. It’s not typically our favorite place for cupcakes, but we were in the area and figured “why not?” They were out of a lot of options, but they did have these Red Velvet Rockette cupcakes left:

(Magnolia Bakery’s Red Velvet Cake with Whipped Vanilla Frosting)

Unfortunately this was not a good cupcake. The cake was really dry and dense and there wasn’t much flavor to it at all. The frosting was just okay too. Unfortunately the best part of this cupcake was the edible glitter and the chocolate Rockette on top. One redeeming quality was that even with how busy they were, the staff was incredibly friendly, so we had a great experience while we were there.

IcedGems – Baltimore, MD
IcedGems has a huge assortment of holiday flavors and decorated cupcakes this year. The options are amazing and thanks to one of Elisa’s co-workers – a fellow cupcake lover, Rebecca – Elisa has five to show you below. Thanks Rebecca for hooking us up with such awesome cupcakes!

(IcedGems’ Peppermint Cupcake)

Chocolate, peppermint, Hershey’s Kisses… what more can you ask for?! The perfect blend of sweet and peppermint, this cupcake made me go, “MMmmmmmmmm.” The cake was moist and rich with flavor, while the icing was smooth, creamy, and unfolded a peppermint taste on your tongue. Find their truck and buy one of these asap!

(IcedGems’ “Christmas Tree” holiday cupcake)

This was their “birthday cake” cupcake, which is fun-fetti cake with sweet buttercream icing. With it’s adorable star on top, this cupcake screams Christmas cheer! It was moist, delicious, sweet, savory, and just plain yummy. Simple flavors sometimes get lost in the mix of extravagant, complex, flavors, but this one was a shining star!

(IcedGems “Elf” holiday cupcake)

This adorable cupcake was very moist and sweet. It was a peanut butter swirl cake with vanilla buttercream icing. Elisa said that while it was really good, it wasn’t her favorite, but that there was some pretty steep competition with some of the other flavors.

(IcedGems “Santa Pants” holiday cupcake)

This chocolate cupcake was very good. With Santa’s legs sticking out of it like he’s stuck in a chimney, the flavorful cupcake was a sweet treat – with it’s reese’s peanut butter cup and marshmallow on top, this cupcake wasn’t just fun, it was flavorful too!

(IcedGems’ Egg Nog Cupcake)

Rebecca said that this cupcake was very good. In her own words, “The buttercream frosting was smooth with the right hint of spice and richness. While the cake wasn’t as moist as the others, it was also eaten a couple of days after it was purchased, and was still light with a nice kick of spice in it as well.  With an edible, white chocolate ornament on top, this cupcake all around was great!”

** IcedGems also very kindly gave Rebecca a Red Velvet, knowing that it’s Elisa’s favorite. We will be sharing that review in a separate post in the next week or two. So keep an eye out for that!  🙂

Sprinkles Cupcakes – Georgetown, DC
Another big “THANKS!” must go out to our newest Guest Crusader, Rebecca, for bringing a Red Velvet Sprinkles Cupcake to Elisa and sharing a review of the chocolate peppermint she got for herself.

(Sprinkles Cupcakes’ Chocolate Peppermint Cupcake)

This cupcake is described as a “Belgian dark chocolate cake topped with bittersweet chocolate-peppermint frosting. Sprinkled with crushed peppermint candies, it will get everyone rockin’ around the Christmas tree!” Apparently Rebecca agrees because she said, “Delicious! Moist, yummy, and great flavor.”

(Sprinkles Cupcakes’ Red Velvet Cupcake)

From Elisa: “Having previously reviewed the red velvet cupcake from Sprinkles, I was afraid this one wouldn’t live up to my memories… But it just confirmed my original review of simply scrumptious cake with fabulous cream cheese icing. Anytime I go there, I will have to get their red velvet.”

We hope whether you are baking cupcakes or ordering them from your local bakery, that you and your family have a very “sweet” Christmas.

– Posted by Cupcake Crusader, Stacy (Baltimore, MD)