Crumbs v. Magnolia
Maybe it’s a cop-out to consider the two most famous cupcakeries (arguably) in town without discussing the numerous cult favorite cupcake bakeries in the five boroughs; yet, as these are the most prominent and I have sampled them both recently, I feel the need to outline my thoughts.
At the end of it all, Crumbs is superior in taste, size, and creativity. Magnolia seems to be resting on its laurels, riding the fame given to it by Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw and hordes of adoring tourists. After sampling many of their limited selection of cupcakes, I am continually less than impressed.
To begin with, at Magnolia, there are only 9 or so flavors to choose from, and the only ones guaranteed to be ‘in stock’ are the chocolate and vanilla basics. Other than that, they have red velvet, coconut, german chocolate (which I have never seen), and hummingbird (a southern specialty with pecans). In comparison, Crumbs has a staggering array of options, ranging from the basics to Apple Cobbler, Pistachio, Boston Cream, Butterfinger, Brownie, Cappucino, Carrot, Cookie Dough, Fluffernutter, Key Lime, and so on so forth. My mouth just waters skimming their extensive menu.
Furthermore, the Magnolia frosting is too sugary and sweet. You can almost taste the sugar granules in the frosting; whereas Crumbs frosting is rich and substantial. You don’t feel as though you’re spooning sugar straight from the Domino’s White Granulated Sugar box into your mouth.
In terms of moistness of cake, Magnolia and Crumbs seem to be tied. Both are sub-par in their moistness. Perhaps the large-scale production of cupcakes has eaten away at technique, but both bakeries produce a cake that is too crumbly. A proper cupcake should be moist, should hold together when you bite into it, and should not leave you grasping for water after a couple bites.
Although Crumbs has expanded aggressively (with new locations all over Manhattan and even in Connecticut) while Magnolia has only 3 locations, I truly believe that Crumbs produces the tastier cake. As I said before, Magnolia rides on its unsubstantiated fame.
Either way, I’m still hunting for a cupcake that has the whole package, moist cake and all!