Date of excursion: 2.14.08
It was nighttime, and our cupcake senses were tingling. After long hours of homework, silence, and solitude in the library, we sent out a text to our beloved Cappuccino Swirl (who could not join us that evening, due to a coffee-related emergency). “Magnolia. 9:42 PM.” Done.
We trekked on a different route to Magnolia. It took approximately three years to reach. But when we did, oh when we did, we were ready to ‘mack on some cupcakes.
The story behind Magnolia is an interesting one. Two friends started the business years ago, but parted ways. One friend kept Magnolia, and the other made a rivalry bakery– Buttercup Bakery. Magnolia, on the one hand, gained popularity from Andy Samberg and Chris Parnell’s “Lazy Sunday” SNL Digital Short. It was also featured on HBO’s “Sex in the City”, although New York’s “Sex in the City” tour will provide you with Buttercup cupcakes (to eat in front of Magnolia). You could cut that tension with a cupcake knife, or plastic fork, as we like to do it.
After struggling to purchase our cupcakes through the massive sea of people (as, frequently, the line to Magnolia extends out into the street), and bidding farewell to the Magnolia be-aproned bouncer (yes), we settled ourselves in the park across the street, at one of the quaint chess boards.
Unfortunately, after we undressed our first cupcake (chocolate chocolate), a rivalry gang (we define “gang” in this sentence as a group of people with a common goal to intimidate and/or eat cupcakes) began to bust our chops. “How much did those cost?”, they asked condescendingly. We made no reply. “You just used your American Express card, and said ‘Hey Rico*, keep the change!'” They also mentioned that they had some very nice MySpaces we could look at.**
So as to avoid what would surely have become a street brawl, we decided to pick up our plastic forks, and bounce. We headed over to Cappuccino Swirl and Choco–Choco Chip’s box. The owners of the box gladly accepted our request for a photo.
We began to undress the remaining cupcakes. The vanilla icing on Cupcake Two was a pastel green, and the cake was vanilla as well (Vanilla was enthralled). We bit.
“This tastes like a Chinese thing I’ve eaten before,” said Lemon Meringue.
We likened Cupcake Two to several things. Cappuccino Swirl compared it to a Betty Crocker mix, while Choco–Choco Chip compared it to Alice from “the Brady Bunch”– wait, no–Cindy from “the Brady Bunch.” “It’s like a big, soft, [panda]. It doesn’t hold up.”
“Do you remember the episode of “the Brady Bunch” with the see-saw contest?
They were trying to see if they could break a record for see-saw-ing, and then this news reporter came to interview Bobby and Cindy… how difficult could that have possibly been?”
“Well, it takes a lot of leg strength…”
“Cindy has a lisp.”
Cupcake Two was soon destroyed. We liked “the Brady Bunch” movie.
Cupcake Three was a Valentine’s Day cupcake. It had chocolate cake with vanilla (pink!) icing. Stabbed through the heart of the icing was a plastic heart stick ($0.50– thanks for that post-purchase memo, Magnolia). There was also a sugar heart embedded into the icing. Vanilla ate it. “Eww.”
Cupcake Three was likened to a Barbie cupcake. Not because it was tall, busty, and had an eating disorder, but more so because it was explosively pink.
The sugary pink sprinkles intertwined into the swirls of tufted frosting were a nice touch. It was like a hidden surprise in every bite. Alas, there was another hidden surprise–a sub-par chocolate-cake taste. The frosting, thereby, overpowered the cupcake.
We tried to compare Cupcake Three to Cupcake One (in that they both had chocolate cake). We concluded that we could not quite remember Cupcake One– most likely due to all the marijuana that was in the air at the time, emanating from the rivalry gang.
[Marijuana interlude: ten minutes. Discussion topics included smell, identification, and awareness.]
Cupcake Four had a vanilla cake with chocolate icing (and rainbow dot sprinkles)! We also likened this cupcake to Barbie. Again– Cupcake Four was not a blonde, plastic, woman who was having sexual relations with a man-doll named Ken, but instead looked more like a freeze frame from a Barbie commercial. You know, when she throws the glitter, and the screen flashes “Barbie”, and it says “Barbie.com, but first ask dad or mom.” It’s really clever advertising.
[“Dibs not”? Or “Nose goes”? Cappuccino Swirl and Choco–Choco chip debate. Are either arguments valid?]
Cappuccino Swirl claims the cupcake was too stale (due to the fact that, at Magnolia, you serve yourself from a tray of cupcakes they, unfortunately, leave by the constantly-opening door).
Lemon Meringue becomes sour during the traditional cake toast. “Your cake is TOUCHING me.”
Cupcake One: Chocolate Chocolate
Cappuccino Swirl: Swirly goodness, but not as hip-happening as I thought.
Choco–Choco Chip: That frosting was on the heazy! I wish I could just slurble it. Choco and choco, yo? I likes the sound of that. The cake itself exploded, by the way. Because it was DYNO-MITE. But not actually.
Lemon Meringue: Lots of chocolate… a little bitter, like lemon.
Vanilla: Frosting. And some uneccesary people. Also– bathroom in bar.***
Cupcake Two: Vanilla Vanilla
Cappuccino Swirl: Cake was like Betty Crocker. I felt like I could make this in my easy-bake oven. The frostin’ was pretty jammin’. The color was chillsville green.
Choco–Choco Chip: (Vanilla)^2? It was really like (Vanilla)^(CRAZY). And it was like red vines.
[drew picture of a bottle, a seal, and a chair.]
Lemon Meringue: The cake was yellow but mushy. Green frosting = good times.
Vanilla: Da best.
Cupcake Three: Valentine’s Day
Cappuccino Swirl: Festive, you know I dig the whole pink thing. Nice decoration. Chocolate part totally normal.
Choco–Choco Chip: The chocolate cake, if he were on a playground, would be last week’s cool kid. But he’s not this week’s cool kid. The frosting was this week’s cool kid. But since the week is over, he’s less cool. The kid had heart and soul, though. I gotta say.
Lemon Meringue: Good presentation. Bad holiday.
Vanilla: I ate the heart made of candy.
Cupcake Four: Chocolate Vanilla
Cappuccino Swirl: It was stale.
Choco–Choco Chip: The rainbow sprinkles added the right amount of crunch. The frosting is slippin’ and sloshin’ like a cocoa waterfall.
Lemon Meringue: I know this is the Barbie-looking cupcake, but where’s the Lemon Meringue-looking cupcake?
*We are in no way associated with the degradation of minorities, as all the members of the Cupcake Gang are minorities themselves. Yes, even Vanilla is a minority. Not that non-minorities are racists. Just thought we’d add this politically-correct insight so as to familiarize you with the Cupcake Gang’s non-threatening threatening exterior.
**As much as Rupert Murdoch looks like a sour-faced old man, Lemon Meringue is philosophically opposed to MySpace.
***Due to the fact that Magnolia does not have a bathroom, Vanilla was forced to go to a bathroom in a local bar. She was wearing her signature, official Cupcake-Gang backpack, and the bar rats were threatened.
Magnolia Bakery (2 locations):
1) Downtown: 401 Bleecker Street (Intersection of 11th Street and Bleecker Street) 212.462.2572 (We went to this location)
Average cost of cupcake: $2.50
2) Uptown: 200 Columbus Avenue (Intersection of 69th Street and Columbus Ave.) 212.724.8101
1) Sun. 10am-11:30pm, Mon. 12pm-11:30pm, Tues.-Thurs. 9am-11:30pm, Fri. 9am-12:30am, Sat. 10am-12:30am
2) Sun. 7am-10:30pm, Mon.-Thurs. 7am-11:30pm, Fri.-Sat. 7am-12:30am