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Why we’re crazy for cupcakes and where to get them

cupcakesBy Allison Eatough

These days, you can’t escape the cupcake.

Gourmet cupcake stores are popping up in cities across the country. Cupcake cookbooks line the shelves at area bookstores. Pastry chefs go head to head on reality cupcake television shows. Restaurants are hosting cupcake happy hours. And some businesses have even designated the last Friday of the month as “Cupcake Friday.”

“It seems like a trend or a fad, but it also seems like it’s not going anywhere,” says Michael Santos, pastry chef and instructor at Stratford University in Baltimore, one of the top culinary schools in the region.

Santos and other baking experts estimate the craze began anywhere from 10 to 20 years ago, with reasons ranging from those reality television shows to nostalgia and dietary awareness.

“They are a reminder of your childhood, of parties with friends, of playdates, of sweetness and sunshine and pure joy,” write the founders of Georgetown Cupcake in Washington D.C., sisters Katherine Kallinas Berman and Sophie Kallinas LaMontagne, who are also stars of TLC’s show DC Cupcakes. “They allow you to indulge yet not overindulge.”

“Everybody ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ when they see cupcakes,” adds Jennifer Houck, a Crofton mother who frequently bakes cupcakes at home. “They’re cute.”

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