Magnolia Bakery still trying to make cupcakes happen

The Rockettes attend the launch of the new Rockettes cupcake design at a Magnolia Bakery in NYC in 2014.
The Rockettes attend the launch of the new Rockettes cupcake design at a Magnolia Bakery in NYC in 2014.
Photo: Mike Coppola (Getty Images)

Somewhere around the early 2000s, a cupcake revolution occurred. Cupcakes had existed prior to this, of course, but mostly as a dessert for kids’ parties. Then came Magnolia Bakery and Sex And The City, and voila: Gourmet, $6 cupcakes were fucking everywhere. (In a previous job, I was tasked with covering the debut of a cupcake vending machine. Truly my cat fashion show moment.)


Though the nation has since turned its gnatlike attention span to other culinary stunts, Magnolia Bakery is not through with us yet. The Wall Street Journal reports the chain plans to open another 200 locations across the country within five years. The target is to put these pastel-colored frosting pushers in 50 of America’s top markets, with about three stores in each city. God help us all.

I was surprised to learn of Magnolia’s continuing draw, since I figured we’d all since decided to forget cupcakes and spend our hard-earned cash on culinary necessities like Unicorn Frappuccinos, glitter beer, and gold-foil chicken wings. I’m partially correct: Magnolia’s chief executive Steve Abrams tells the WSJ cupcakes account for just a third of the bakery’s sales these days, ceding the floor to other desserts like banana pudding. But, alas, cupcakes aren’t going anywhere, except into more American cities.

“We’re still the big name [in cupcakes],” he said. “That’s always going to carry weight.”

Yeah, like 40 pounds of buttercream frosting’s worth.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.


Dr Emilio Lizardo

I don’t understand banana pudding. It’s pudding, bananas, and Nilla wafers. it’s fine, but people treat it like it’s some creation of the Gods and it’s basically just the tuna casserole of desserts.