Although introduced to the Magnolia Bakery through the HBO Series ‘Sex and the City’ many years ago, my first taste of their cupcakes happened by chance as I was taking a stroll through the Grand Central Terminal Dining Hall during my second visit to New York and stumbled upon a stowaway branch of theirs. The Magnolia Bakery’s confectioneries are beloved to New Yorkers and if you’ve sunk your teeth into one of their cupcakes, especially the Magnolia Bakery Chocolate cupcake, you’ll know why.
If you haven’t read my New York Travelogue post, please do check it out to find my pick of 5 must-eat places in the Big Apple. What are yours? Let me know in the comments below!
The Cupcake itself, though lighter than air is not what steals the show. It’s the buttercream. Oh that buttercream! Songs should be sung about how creamy the buttercream is, so velvety that it almost tastes like whipped cream. As I was making the cupcakes and the buttercream, I realised how creamy and lighter-than-air both the cupcake batter and buttercream were. I’ve made a lot of cakes and cupcakes before, but nothing quite as airy as this one. The batter was so light – almost like a meringue- that I was afraid I’ll break it.
During my last visit to the local library, imagine my surprise when I found the Official Magnolia Bakery Cookbook!!! Shortly later, I found an online version as well, so for those interested, do check it out. Believe me when I say, these cupcakes are like nothing you’ve ever had before! They are so soft and so creamy (with no cream in it of course) that it just slides down your throat like silk.
So the key to these lighter-than-air cupcakes? Whisking for long periods of time. If the recipe says whisk on medium for three minutes, set your timer and whisk at medium speed for the full three minutes. You cannot over whip this batter, at least until you add the flour and baking soda. And this buttercream holds it’s shape very well at room temperature. Can you see my teeth mark in the frosting below? These cupcakes had been left out on the kitchen counter for the better part of the morning.
And as always, use good quality chocolate and vanilla. It makes quite a difference to the end product. I used Ghirardelli (60% cacao) bittersweet chocolate chips and pure vanilla bean paste in the batter and butter cream frosting. I am eating my second cupcake before noon as I type et je ne regrette rien! (…and I regret nothing!)
Now I’m gonna stop yapping and let’s get baking!
Note: Make absolutely sure that your cupcakes are completely cool before you begin icing it. Warm cakes and soft buttercream spell disaster.