The Popularity of Magnolia

For those of you who are not familiar with Magnolia Bakery, it is a well known bakery in New York City and they are famous for their yummy pastel frosted cupcakes. I believe they are credited with starting the “cupcake craze” of the 1990’s.

I had a hankering for cake after watching Paula Deen make a ridiculous Red Velvet cake so I started leafing through my copy of
At Home with Magnolia: Classic American Recipes from the Owner of Magnolia Bakery by Allysa Torey. Notice these cupcakes as one of the cover pictures on the book.

My sister gave this to me a while back as a gift :p. It is a departure from Torey’s other 2 books which are solely baking cookbooks. At Home with Magnolia is a collection of Torey’s own recipes and includes some great looking lunch and dinner recipes as well as a good sized dessert section. Many of the savory recipes are Italian influenced (which is my personal favorite) and focus on using the seasonal farm fresh ingredients that she grows on her property in upstate New York. And of course, it includes a few of the cupcake and icebox cake recipes that made her famous. My only issue with this book is that is has too many non food related pictures. I say less pictures of inanimate objects and more pictures of the actual food.

You can find the recipe here. I chose this recipe because I wanted cake but did not want to leave my cave (a.k.a. my condo) to go to the store again and I happened to have a few spare oranges in the house. Perfect! I even had self rising flour – I was meant to make these cupcakes.

The recipe calls for orange zest and 1 cup of non pulpy orange juice. I used fresh orange juice and strained it. This reminded me that fresh orange juice really is tasty, so I juiced my remaining oranges and we drank it the next morning for a Sunday breakfast treat. Yum – it was good.

Besides the fresh juice, I did not stray from her recipe except that I halved it to make 12 cupcakes, used fat free milk for the frosting, and did not garnish with coconut. The fat free milk did not pose any problem with getting the frosting to the desired consistency and it tasted good – so you may as well save that fat.

I also added 1 drop of pink food coloring to my frosting to get a pastel pink frosting – really only 1 carefully added drop. Luckily, I actually exercised some restraint and patience otherwise I would have ended up with 80’s neon pink frosted cupcakes. It almost happened people.

Despite the fact that I grew up in NY, I have never been to this bakery so I can’t compare my cupcakes to theirs, but I can tell you that these are moist and delicious and worth the effort. They are definitely the best non chocolate cupcake I have ever made. Sara, what is the best chocolate cupcake you have ever made, you ask? Well, they are Ina Garten’s Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing.

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