How to Celebrate Magnolia Bakery’s 20th Birthday

Devil's Food Cupcake at Magnolia Bakery
Devil’s Food Cupcake at Magnolia Bakery

All hail Gotham’s epicenter for sweet treats, Magnolia Bakery–the shop that helped launch a worldwide cupcake epidemic–because today is not only Bastille Day, but Magnolia Bakery’s 20th anniversary! (Spoiler alert: this post will likely up your cupcake-crave factor by 100 percent. )

Two decades ago Magnolia was a modest outpost along Bleecker Street. Then along came Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw and Miranda Hobbs, who helped put the place on the map when they filmed outside the bakery during Season 3 of the series. And it seems there have been long lines on Bleecker and 11th Street ever since. Even Hillary Clinton joined the queue, refusing to go to the head of the line, when she was Senator from New York (that’s how you win votes!). The little shop that could now has 30 locations worldwide. Here we talk with Sara Gramling, who as Vice President,  Public Relations for Magnolia, must have one of the best jobs in New York, about birthday celebrations and Magnolia favorites all around the town.

The Classic Cupcakes will sell for their original 1996 price $1.25
The Classic Cupcakes will sell for their original 1996 price, $1.25

What are Magnolia’s most popular cupcakes?
The classic vanilla and chocolate, as well as the Red Velvet with whipped vanilla icing, coconut, caramel and carrot. Any flavor of cupcake [Magnolia makes over 50 varieties] can also be ordered in advance by calling 1.855.MBAKERY, or going to

Do cupcake tastes differ from location to location? After the favorites, what are the particular preferences around town?
At our Bleecker Street location–the original Magnolia Bakery–it’s Hummingbird [a banana, pineapple and cinnamon combo], at our Upper West Side location it’s Devil’s Food and at the Penn Station store it’s caramel.

Red Velvet Cupcakes
Red Velvet Cupcakes

What are the new cupcake flavors for summer?
We use seasonal fruit to make a variety of freshly baked desserts, including cupcakes. In July, Magnolia is featuring its blueberry-lemon cupcake and a blueberry and lemon cake topped with a sweet and tart lemon cream-cheese icing. In addition to cupcakes, there are seasonal icebox cake and pie, the rustic open-faced ‘nolia pies, sour cream coffee cake, muffins, scones and pies.

Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes
Blueberry Lemon Cupcakes
Strawberry Ciupcakes
Strawberry Cupcakes
S'mores Cupcakes
S’mores Cupcakes

How is Magnolia going to celebrates its 20th anniversary?
On July 14, it’s #TBT @ Bleecker Street! We’ll be offering our classic vanilla and chocolate cupcakes for their original price–$1.25 each! Limit one dozen per customer (just like the old days). This will be available only at our Bleecker Street location and for in-store purchases while supplies las. There will also be mini-Magnolia Bakery cupcakes;  a Magnolia Bakery Whoopie pie, with whipped cream and a cherry on top.

We’ve partnered with Black Tap [the restaurants that pay homage to the American luncheonette experience] to come up with an ultimate birthday treat: A vanilla milkshake with frosted vanilla rim and confetti sprinkles. The new shake will be available at Black Tap locations in New York from July 14th to July 17th for $17.

What’s the secret to making your chocolate cake with that phenomenal chocolate icing?
No secret. The recipe is below:

Magnolia Super Rich Chocolate Cake
Butter and flour two 9”cake pans or prepare two muffin tins for 24 cupcakes

2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup plus 2 tbls unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
1 TBLS pure vanilla extract
¾ cup plus 2 tbls boiling water
Preheat convection oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda in a large bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. By hand whisk the egg mixture with the sugar/flour mixture and beat together until combined, using a large whisk. Whisk in the boiling water just until combined. Note: The batter will be thin and very watery. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 22- 25 minutes or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan about ten minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool.

Magnolia Bakery Chocolate Buttercream
Makes enough for one 2-layer 9-inch cake or 2 dozen cupcakes.
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons milk
9 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooked to lukewarm (see note)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
Note: To melt the chocolate, place in a double boiler over simmering water on low heat for about 5-10 minutes. Stir occasionally until completely smooth and no pieces of chocolate remain. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5-15 minutes, or until lukewarm.
In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the milk carefully and beat until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat well, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat for 3 minutes. Gradually add the sugar and beat on low speed until creamy and of desired consistency.