Before we had mouth-watering croissant doughnuts and doughnut sandwiches , we had … good ol’ cupcakes! But we’re not talking about just any ordinary cupcake here. We’re talking about cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery in New York, made famous the world over by the hit TV Series Sex and the City. And yes, the TV series was an enormous success in Japan too, meaning that countless Japanese fans were left coveting not just gorgeous Manolo Blahnik shoes, but the delectable looking Magnolia Bakery cupcakes as well.
So, you can imagine how absolutely thrilled fans of the cupcakes were about Magnolia Bakery opening their very first store in Japan in the Omotesando area of Tokyo this week. And prove their enthusiasm they did, as throngs of fans showed up on opening day of Magnolia Bakery Tokyo on June 16. Now, as a passionate fan of all things sweet, as well as a devoted follower of American TV dramas — Sex and the City in particular — I knew I simply had to be there for the grand opening. And while the wait was long, the sight that greeted me in the shop was sweet indeed! But first, let us tell you just how long the wait was …
Only last week, we’d had day after day of rain in Tokyo, but fortunately, June 16 turned out to be a beautiful day. I knew there was going to be an incredibly huge crowd, so I thought I’d get just a bit of an early start … and arrived in front of the shop at about 5:30 am.
▼This is the GYRE building in Omotesando, where the shop is located, which by the way is very close to the Max Brenner Chocolate Bar where you can enjoy chocolate pizza. Omotesando is really becoming a sweet-lover’s paradise!
▼… and around the building up to the second floor! We heard that there were about 300 people in line at this point. In fact, there was such a crowd throughout the day that they announced later in the afternoon that the waiting time could be as long as six hours and they eventually had to stop accepting new customers into the line at around 4 pm.
▼While I waited for the final minutes before the opening, I was able to see the lovely ladies of Magnolia Bakery Tokyo hard at work creating the scrumptious cupcakes through the large windows in the front of the shop.
▼Here’s a short video of the Magnolia ladies in action. See the frosting swirls being artfully created!
▼Once I stepped outside, as I was one of the very first customers to finish shopping, people were eager to see the actual cupcakes I had bought, including a TV crew who were filming the events surrounding the shop opening, so we decided to open the box of cupcakes and taste one right there!
▼I chose the “Carrie cupcake”, the vanilla cupcake with pink frosting topped with a sugar daisy, which was inspired by Sex and the City. I actually had a similar cupcake from Magnolia Bakery when I visited New York a few years ago.
▼Mmm… the cupcake, and the frosting in particular, was quite sweet, with the definite flavor of vanilla, and tasted very much like the one I had in New York. It looks like they didn’t change the flavor of the cupcakes for the Japanese market.
▼This is the coconut cake, which wasn’t as sweet as it looked. The cake wasn’t soft, but had a pleasantly firm consistency close to that of a muffin or pound cake, which went well with the meringue cream icing topped with flavorful coconut flakes.
▼And now, onto the cupcakes! Here’s the german chocolate cupcake with an icing containing caramel, coconut and pecan on a chocolate cupcake. The flavor of the chocolate was just rich enough without being too strong, and the texture of the coconut flakes and pecan added a delightful crunch.
▼Here’s the banana cupcake with chocolate butter cream frosting. Okay, this was completely delightful since banana and chocolate really do go well together. The sweetness of the chocolate complemented the gentle taste of banana perfectly.
▼This is the banana cupcake topped with caramel meringue cream frosting. The taste of caramel seemed very rich and concentrated in this case, and it was maybe just a little too rich for me. Personally, I thought the chocolate butter cream was a better match for the banana cupcake.
▼This one is a very “American” creation. It’s a S’mores cupcake — created with mixed chocolate meringue frosting on top of a graham and chocolate ganache based cupcake. I love S’mores, so I just had to get one of these! The frosting was actually quite sweet, but the distinct flavor of graham in the cupcake was simply delightful, the kind of taste that makes you feel like a kid again.
▼And here we have a classic chocolate on chocolate combination — chocolate buttercream on a chocolate cupcake topped with colorful sprinkles. This was pure, chocolate heaven! The chocolate flavors were sweet without being overbearing, and should be a delight for any chocolate lover, not to mention that the cake looks dark and sinfully delicious.
▼… heavens, the creamy pudding looked divine! It’s a vanilla pudding containing vanilla wafers and bananas, and it was absolutely dreamy! The vanilla pudding seemed to just melt in my mouth, leaving the mild yet distinct taste of banana. I could eat this forever!
So, that’s the round-up on the items I tried from Magnolia Bakery’s selection on opening day. It looks like there will be some serious lining up and waiting involved for the foreseeable future if you want to get your hands on their cakes, but since there are many other flavors I still want to try, I know I’ll be going back for more, once the crowd settles down a bit. Well, we’re thrilled there’s another lovely shop we can turn to when we want to satisfy our sweet tooth, because we can’t have too many of those, can we? Thanks for coming to Tokyo, Magnolia Bakery!
Top image: Magnolia Bakery Japan facebook page
All other photos: RocketNews24