It’s a now-iconic scene for “Sex and the City” fans. Carrie and Miranda are sitting outside Magnolia Bakery in New York’s West Village, talking about Carrie’s new crush.
“You haven’t had a crush in a while, not since Big,” Miranda said.
“Big wasn’t a crush, he was a crash,” Carrie responded, before taking a bite of her cupcake. She continued, licking pink frosting from her lips. “His name is Aidan and I believe him to be very cute.”
Although the corner bakery had been open since 1996, it was this clip from the show’s third season in 2000 that put the spotlight on Magnolia Bakery. Soon it was drawing fans and tourists from all over the world, eager to have their own New York cupcake moment.
Almost 20 years since, the love for Magnolia Bakery hasn’t waned and the company has expanded, building stores in different parts of New York, the United States and the world. There are Magnolia bakeries in Mexico, the Middle East, South Korea and now, the Philippines.
“Magnolia Bakery has always been my favorite. Whenever I travel to New York or even to Korea, I always make sure that I drop by Magnolia Bakery. Banana pudding is my absolute favorite. Every single day I’m in New York, I have to buy one, every single day, no exaggeration,” said Stewart Ong, managing partner of Phil Jacobe Ventures Inc. He and partner Candy Lu are bringing Magnolia Bakery to the Philippines under the name M Bakery. Candy is also M Bakery’s pastry chef.
M Bakery opens in BGC on August 22 and here’s what you need to know.
The doors open at 2 p.m. on August 22 and there are special treats for the first 100 in line. The first five will get a year’s supply of banana pudding (that’s one large banana pudding every month). “The next 95, for a minimum purchase of P500, will get a complimentary small banana pudding,” said Stewart.
You absolutely have to try the banana pudding. It comes in three sizes—small (P145), medium (P295) and large (P375). You can get it in party sizes too. And yes, it tastes just like the one they serve in New York. We love the original but there are 14 banana pudding flavors that M Bakery will be introducing over the next months including Peanut Butter, S’mores, Chocolate Chip and Confetti. “We’re constantly creating new flavors,” said Erick Larios, Magnolia Bakery’s director of franchise operations.
Expect an authentic Magnolia Bakery experience at M Bakery—from the sights, the smells and the tastes. “All the ingredients have to be approved by the US team. When we couldn’t source ingredients that are up to standards, we have to source them from the US or other parts of the world to make sure that we only use the freshest and highest quality ingredients,” said Stewart. “If you look at the interiors, even the tiles were imported from the US. We wanted to make sure that the look, even the smell, is the same.”
Stewart, Candy and members of their team headed to the US to train for four to six weeks. Erick said, “We spend a lot of time training the team. That’s important. That’s part of having that connection to the brand. We want them to be entrenched in our culture there so they can see that this is what Magnolia Bakery is.”
First-timer? Stewart and Erick give you tips on what to order. “My absolute favorite is the Banana Pudding but if you’re into refrigerated desserts, try the Blueberry Jamboree as well as the Key Lime Pie. For Manila, we’re using calamansi. It’s an homage to the Manila market. For cupcakes, I’d like you to try the carrot cupcake. The ones who have tried it say it’s the best they’ve tried anywhere in Manila,” said Stewart.
Erick said, “You have to try the banana pudding, you just have to. Cupcake lovers, you have to try our cupcakes. The Blueberry Jamboree, our whole team, we’re obsessed with it. The Lemon Bar I love. It’s a classic that’s done so well. The Hummingbird. I call that the sweet cousin of carrot cake. It’s pineapple and banana and pecan cake with sweet cream cheese icing with toasted pecans on top. It’s got the same texture and feel as a carrot cake but it’s a nudge sweeter. I think it will do really well here in Manila.”
We say order the Magic Cookie Bar, the Snickers Ice Box Bar, the Sea Salt Caramel Cookies too.
You can get cakes and cupcakes for special occasions, with specialty and seasonal ones requiring advance order. Cupcake prices start at P120 for one, P720 for half a dozen and P1440 for a dozen while 6-inch cakes start at P1500 and 9-inch ones start at P1850.
Yes, there’s a cupcake named after Carrie. “Our Carrie cupcake, our very popular vanilla cupcake with vanilla buttercream, is our most popular flavor hands-down.”
They will be using some Filipino ingredients like calamansi in the Key Lime Pie and mangoes in the Mango, Lime and Coconut variant of the Banana Pudding. “It’s an homage to the Manila market,” said Stewart.
They will introduce a special Filipino dessert. In Mexico, they introduced a Tres Leches Cake and in the Middle East they did an Arabian Magic Bar with pistachios, rose water and dates. They will reveal the Manila special on the 22nd. “I think it’s gonna be very well-received. It’s something that I think is gonna resonate with the Filipinos very much. We want to make sure that we do right by the ingredient and by the product so we represent it properly with the Magnolia twist,” said Erick.
You can grab breakfast there. Starting August 23, M Bakery will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. “Not many people know that we also serve breakfast items, scones and we serve very good coffee,” said Stewart.
Thirsty? Yardstick provides M Bakery’s coffee. “It’s a Brazil and Indonesia blend and it’s outstanding,” said Erick. “We worked really hard with them to get the right consistency. It’s not overpowering so it will complement our desserts really well. We also have the Arnold Palmer which is a nice nod to the company in the US and the Tsokolate which is something local that we wanted to feature.”
You can go shopping at M Bakery too. There are Magnolia Bakery cookbooks, mugs and more.
The BGC store won’t be the only one. “Next year we’re hoping to open one or two more stores within Manila,” said Stewart.
Expect something new every day.“We have over 250 recipes which we will be rotating on a daily basis,” said Stewart.
M Bakery is located at Unit 23 Lower Ground Level, One Bonifacio High Street Mall, 5th Ave. corner 28th Street Bonifacio Global City. Starting August 23, store hours will be from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.