A few weeks ago, I visited Magnolia Bakery, located on 401 Bleecker Street, in the West Village. For years, I had wanted to try these famous cupcakes to see what all the hype was about, but like any local, I put it on the back burner thinking I would eventually get around to it.
When I arrived at the storefront I joined the line that curled around the tiny bakery, and couldn’t help but gawk at every little divine cake that was placed on display by the bakers. The diminutive store of baked sweets had quite an interesting setup. Customers are called inside, three and four at a time, to keep the crowds of cupcake hoarders under control. Upon entering,visitors are told to pick up a pastry box to package and store their cupcakes (there are different size boxes available depending on how many you plan on purchasing), and are free to roam and to chose any delightful treat they please. It needs to be a relatively quick process, keeping in mind the other drooling cake fiends staring through the windows envying your every move “” so be courteous, find your fluffy cake of choice, and skedaddle!
I purchased two (it would have been three but the red velvet was sold out, alas”…): a vanilla cake with fluffy chocolate icing and another, same cake base, with silky, vanilla icing. They were sinfully good and easily the best cupcakes I’ve ever eaten. There was something incredibly light and airy about them; a perfect balance of moist cake and creamy””not pasty””frosting.
So, I hope I’ve inspired you to, sometime, find the time, to visit Magnolia’s, but in the meantime I’ve provided some authentic recipe’s to try at home. Farewell fellow cupcake lovers and happy baking!
Magnolia’s Vanilla Cupcake & Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting
1 C unsalted butter, softened (225gm)
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 C self rising flour
1 1/4 C all-purpose flour
1 C milk
1 tsp vanilla
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit (180 celsius).
- Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.
- In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. [Photo by: luisvilla]
- Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Combine the flours and add in four parts, alternating with the milk and the vanilla extract, beating well after each addition.
- Spoon the batter into the cups about 3/4’s full.
- Bake until the tops spring back when lightly touched, about 20 to 22 minutes.
- Remove cupcakes from pans and cool COMPLETELY on a wire rack before icing with butter cream frosting.
Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting
1 C unsalted butter, very soft (225gm)
8 C confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar)
1/2 C milk
2 tsp vanilla
- Place the butter (very soft) in a large mixing bowl
- Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla
- Beat until smooth and creamy
- Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, until icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency (you may not need all of the sugar)
- For colored icing add a few drops of food coloring and mix thoroughly
- Use and store icing at room temperature, as icing will set if chilled
- You can store in an airtight container for up to 3 days
Magnolia’s Red Velvet Cupcakes
3 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 ½ cups sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tbsp red food coloring
3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 batch Creamy Vanilla Frosting (see below)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and lightly flour 2 cupcake pans (24 cupcakes).
2. To make the batter: In a small bowl, sift the cake flour and set aside. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until very light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a small bowl, whisk together the red food coloring, cocoa, and vanilla. Add to the batter and beat well.
3. In a measuring cup, stir the salt into the buttermilk. Add to the batter in three parts alternating with the flour. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. In a small bowl, stir together the cider vinegar and baking soda. Add to the batter and mix well. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl, making sure the ingredients are well blended and the batter is smooth.
4. Divide the batter among the prepared pans. Arrange the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and bake the cupcakes, switching positions of the pans halfway through baking, until a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in the pan 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a rack before icing. To ice, mound about 1/4 cup of frosting on top of each cupcake and use an icing spatula to make a swirl on top. If desired, decorate with colored sprinkles.
Creamy Vanilla Frosting
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. In a medium-size saucepan, whisk the flour into the milk until smooth. Place over medium heat and, stirring constantly, cook until the mixture becomes very thick and begins to bubble, 10-15 minutes. Cover with waxed paper placed directly on the surface and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, on the medium high speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter for 3 minutes, until smooth and creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating continuously for 3 minutes until fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat well.
3. Add the cooled milk mixture, and continue to beat on the medium high speed for 5 minutes, until very smooth and noticeably whiter in color. Cover and refrigerate for 15 minutes (no less and no longer””set a timer!). Use immediately.