Cupcakes continue to take over the Middle East as New York-based Magnolia Bakery announced its planned expansion in the region. The frosted baked good was first introduced to the area through the popular television program Sex and the City, which mentions Magnolia directly, as well as from experience studying abroad.
Magnolia, which currently has three non-US stores, including one in Dubai, is planning on expanding to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Lebanon, Jordan, and Morocco. Overall, the company intends to open 120 new stores worldwide in five years. It will focus on its traditional flavors, though stores will add some news flavors to reflect regional tastes.
Magnolia was only the first company to launch what became a cupcake craze in the Middle East. Fadi Jaber, after first tasting their cupcakes in New York, quit his marketing job and studied baking in order to open the first Sugar Daddy’s in Amman, Jordan. He has since opened stores in Beirut and Dubai. Several other cupcake boutiques have opened around the region, such as Kitch and The House of Cakes in Dubai, and Cupcakes Bahrain and Clever Cupcakes in Bahrain.
Cupcakes have come to be considered something of a luxury item, costing a few dollars apiece, and tend to be sold in upscale areas, such as the Abdoun neighborhood in Amman and in Bloomingdale’s at the Dubai Mall. Cupcake bakers in the region have added their own twist to the sugary snack, in addition to serving such classic flavors as chocolate and carrot cake. Middle Eastern flavors have included date cake for Ramadan, baklava and halva.
Image Credit: The House of Cakes, Dubai
Please follow Nuqudy English on Twitter