Magnolia Bakery in Chicago’s Block 37 is a little hidden gem for tourists and locals alike. I had it for the first time yesterday (thanks to @slamkarim) and not only were the treats delicious, but the entire experience is almost out of a fictional cupcake shop you may have seen in a movie or TV show (at least for someone who so enthusiastic about kitschy little shops, like myself). It was so good, that I had to come back today to sample a few other treats so I could share a good array of treats with the blog (only reason, nothing to do with the chocolate).
The Non-Food Experience
The shop employees are thee literal nicest people you will ever encounter. I may be a little biased, because I left my Vera Bradley pouch complete with work ID, commuter card, debit card, among other things, on their counter when I stopped to grab a glass of water, and the world’s friendliest employees held on to it until I could come by after work to get it back, at which point they were super polite and adorable on that visit also, which is absolutely refreshing when you’re that stressed.
The Chocolate Chicago Cupcake, which is a chocolate cake with a vanilla buttercream frosting, also sold in reverse, topped with a chocolate coin detail and edible glitter on the top (pictured below). It was absolutely delicious! My favorite part is the frosting, it is absolutely buttercream done right.
I would be remiss to set foot in a cupcake shop and not try their take on a classic favorite, the Red Velvet. Yesterday I got the mini red velvet and I do have to be fair in saying both my coworker and I thought the cake was a bit dry, but the frosting was still absolutely delicious. We chalked the dryness up to the cupcake being a mini, and perhaps they don’t stay as moist as their full-size counterparts, but that’s merely an amateur opinion.
I didn’t want to leave things like that…so today I got the regular size version to compare. The frosting tasted even better than I remembered, and the cake was certainly not dry. It is not the most moist cupcake I’ve ever had, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s a great texture for those who enjoy a slightly firmer cake.
Not a cupcake fan? They have a bunch of other baked sweets, including their Double Fudge Brownie – which is pretty epic. I wasn’t sure how much I would love it, I am really only a fan of very moist (probably too much almost) brownies, but this one was pretty delicious at a very normal consistency. I would definitely recommend giving it a try if you enjoy a little chocolate, frosting-free treat. They also have Blondie bars among other flavors!
On Tuesdays in the Chicago bakery, they whip up a special Truffle Cupcake, which you may notice closely resembles the Hostess cupcakes you may have also enjoyed frequently as a child like I sure did. How do they stack up? As likely expected, much better. The cake is so much more rich, and the frosting is a delicious, rich chocolate. The inside even has the cream filling! I got the vanilla, but you can also get it with chocolate, they’ll ask you for your preference when you’re ordering.
How They Stack Up
Their experience is bar-none the best, and their products are delicious as well. I have had a lot of cupcakes from all over the country, and while I can’t say these were number one, they are certainly in a top 5 range.
Magnolia’s links are below. Check them out online or on Twitter. Online ordering is available on the website, but it looks like it needs to be 24 hours in advance so not necessarily to be ready on a lunch break unless you plan it for a day ahead, but honestly, you don’t need to if you’re just grabbing one midday, they keep things moving nicely.