World-Famous Magnolia Bakery Brings Its Sweet Treats and Savory Foods to Hawai‘i

Magnolia Bakery and Café will open at Ala Moana Center Nov. 12.
These are some of the baked goods—including its famous cupcakes—that will be served at magnolia bakery and cafÉ, opening on NOv. 12.
Photo: Katrina Valcourt

If you’ve heard of Magnolia Bakery, the first image to pop into your head is probably a line of dancing cupcakes with artful swirls of perfectly coiffed, luscious frosting. “People recognize us because of our cupcakes. They don’t realize how many other products we have,” says Magnolia’s chief baking officer Bobbie Lloyd. But that’s about to change with the grand opening of Magnolia Bakery and Café, the first of its kind in the U.S.


“I’ve been wanting to do this for a really, really long time,” says Lloyd, who has opened cafés around the world, but hasn’t been able to expand Magnolia’s New York, Chicago or California bakeries, for a number of reasons. But, with the Ala Moana café and bakery just a few feet from each other in the mall’s brand-new ‘Ewa Wing, hungry shoppers will be able to explore both Magnolia’s classic cakes, cookies and sweets and its full lineup of savory items, which will include classic sandwiches and salads.


“In the café, it’s a sit-down restaurant (with 70 seats), but there’s a window into the kitchen—you can see the staff icing cupcakes,” Lloyd says. Everything is baked fresh daily in the café, with the sweets making their way over to the retail storefront, which has 22 seats. “It’s our first time opening two locations in the same place like this.”


We spoke with Lloyd a few weeks ago in a test kitchen, where the chefs were learning the recipes and costing them out. One of those chefs is Jonas Low, a local boy who helmed the Magnolia Bakery location in Beirut but has returned home to O‘ahu as executive pastry chef and chef for Magnolia Bakery and Café.


Look for dishes specific to the Honolulu locations, as well as red-velvet, carrot-cake and hummingbird (banana, pineapple and pecan) pancakes, which will rotate seasonally to incorporate other flavors, such as peach pecan, lemon poppyseed and pumpkin maple; ’Nolia pies, open-face crostadas with a classic pie dough and a variety of fillings; banana pudding; light and fluffy cheesecakes; and specials that will be introduced as the staff finds its groove.


One of Lloyd’s most exciting accomplishments this year is a new line of chocolate bars, which will be here by mid-December. Think lemon, red-velvet and banana-pudding bars, a peanut-butter-and-jelly bar covered in chocolate, and a toffee bar.


“People get surprised and turned onto new things,” Lloyd says. “They come for the cupcakes, and they get other experiences, and that’s what we want.”


Magnolia Bakery & Café, ‘Ewa Wing, Ala Moana Center,