The original Magnolia Bakery in New York City that started the
cupcake craze in the 1990s has a neighborhood charm. The outside
look couldn't be more different in the Chicago bakery, with doors
opening onto State Street's bustling sidewalk. But if the outside
is jarringly urban and modern, the inside is charming, with soft
pastel colors and cake stands and cookbooks.
And of course, cupcakes.
The bakery can get crowded and seating is limited. While you
wait, kids will be fascinated by the hard-working bakers behind a
side counter as they cut cookies, frost cupcakes, and put their
talents on show.
It offers different cupcakes on different days, with a large
array of bar cookies, muffins and slices of old-fashioned icebox
We especially liked the chocolate cupcake with chocolate
frosting, the amazing peanut butter toffee bar (a rich, almost
fudge-like texture of peanut butter studded with chunks of toffee
and peanuts), the chocolate orange cupcake (vanilla cake with a
delicately flavored orange custard center and chocolate buttercream
frosting) and the banana pudding. If you love banana cream pie, you
owe it to yourself to try this pudding, which is whipped up rich
and light and loaded with luscious bites of banana and morsels of
Magnolia Bakery is now an expanding company, with other branches
in Los Angeles and Dubai, but it was originally a neighborhood
bakery. They want you to have the experience of a corner bake shop
or even your grandma's kitchen, and in some ways you do.
I wonder if there will be another Magnolia Bakery in a more
family-oriented, walking neighborhood like Lincoln Park. Chief
Baker Bobbie Lloyd is originally from Chicago and is overseeing the
fresh, small batch baking every day, but the store still seems to
be finding its Chicago style.
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