So, look, I don’t love Magnolia Bakery cupcakes (sacrilege!). All I taste is sugar, and sometimes they’re kind of dry or almost stale. But if you’ve never been in one of the bakeries, I totally get the appeal. Going into Magnolia (or one of the many cupcake bakeries that spring up continually all over the city) is like walking into a sugar-coated old-timey bake shop. One packed with mobs of people ordering their cupcakes and puddings to go after they’ve just missed out on SNL seats after camping out overnight on the sidewalk outside Rockefeller Center on the coldest night of the year. Not that I’ve done that or anything (I totally did that). The retro pastels, the frosting swirls, the icebox cakes, the classic sprinkles: it’s all really simple and appealing and comforting. No Earl Grey-infused glazes or port wine fillings, just easy, pretty, familiar treats. Treats that just don’t taste all that interesting. Sorry. But the Magic Cookie Bars are, pardon me, fucking awesome, and I’ve heard tell the banana pudding is some of the best you’ll get anywhere, so credit where credit is due.
Anyhoodle, apparently they just launched their corporate event menus and services, because on the last day of Staff Appreciation week this year the office hosted a cupcake event, and if you want to say “Hey Sweets, we appreciate you,” you will give her kitchen supplies, technical tips, and sugar, and you will let her frost cupcakes at work. I was geeking out the entire time. The Magnolia reps gave us white chef’s aprons to wear and lined us all up around conference room tables like we were on the Food Network, and we each had a six-pack of cupcakes, a tub of frosting, a spatula (which they kept calling a “frosting wand”, which I want to make fun of for being totally twee and absurd, but instead find completely charming. Like Fauna in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, making her cake with her magic wand. FINE, Magnolia, you won me over), and a tub of sprinkles. We got a mini training session on frosting a cupcake Magnolia-style, which honestly once you get the hang of (my first two cupcakes got re-frosted at least six times each) is kind of fun and I’ll probably totally do it on my own.
We also learned how to color our own sprinkles (!) using ingredients readily available at THE FUNNEST STORE EVER: NY Cake & Bake on West 22nd between 5th and 6th. Rotten customer service, but EVERY BAKING THING you’d ever need. Do you need to make a wedding cake? A bunch of tiny cakes? Truffles? Filled cakes? Fondant? Go here. Do you want to find the most amazing birthday cake candles and cupcake wrappers? Go here. Do you need super-fancy European chocolate by the pound? Go here. Do you want to make a cake shaped like Harry Potter’s head? Go here. Seriously, it’s so much fun. When visitors coming to NYC ask for shopping suggestions, I suggest this. It is seldom appreciated. The point is, if you want custom-colored sprinkles and you live in NYC, I have the hookup.
Behold, my cupcakes and the Magnolia goodie bag we all got that was filled with madeleine tins and tiny whisks and spatulas. Ignore my tragically messy desk. I’m good at my job, I swear.