|Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcake|
I usually make fun at people queuing on Omotesando for imported trends such as popcorn and pancakes, but today I embarrassingly became one of them, for a good reason: NYC Magnolia Bakery arrived in Tokyo. I had been to the Bleecker Street location a few times several years ago, and I've been trying to recreate their recipe ever since. If you've been reading me since my Montreal days, you know I'm obsessed with cupcakes, and it's one of the things I miss the most from home. You don't want to know how much butter is in there.
The Tokyo branch of Magnolia Bakery finally opened in Tokyo a few days ago, and already the queues have started. If it's anything like Kripsy Kreme or Ben & Jerry's, the queues will last for about a year or two before it starts calming down. Well, today, accompanied by the two lovely office interns (I made it a mandatory part of the job), I headed to the Omotesando location (right under the posh Chanel store) and got in line with half of Tokyo's female population. There were no men in that queue... maybe one or two, who looked lost and confused.
We waited for over an hour, and all the while I was suspiciously eyeing the perfectly lined, pastel-hued cakes. Would the recipe be different? I know Japanese usually don't like sugary sweet, American-style baked goods, so I was anticipating a change. I ordered a classic vanilla cupcake, and to my delight, the recipe was exactly the same as in NYC: a soft cake, smooth buttercream frosting, and enough sugar and butter to fill my calorie quota for the month. Perfection!
I think the shop is a bit more Japan-ified on this side of the world, in the sense that they sell tons of accessories, such as aprons and tote bags, and most people go there to order boxes of 15 (to share, I hope) instead of individual treats like back home. I'm not so sure the Japanese market will be hooked after the initial buzz, as it really is overwhelmingly sweet, and delicate, subtle flavours are usually favoured here.
I'm secretly wishing the trend will go away so I can have all the cupcakes for myself, but then again, I'm happy there's a long queue so I'm not tempted to drop by on my way home from work. Each piece is about 430 yen (expensive, surprise surprise), and they have variations ranging from classic vanilla and chocolate to coconut and peanut butter.
I absolutely recommend it if you miss the real deal, and I think the queue is worth it if you have lots of time on your hands.