Crazy for Cupcakes

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LuLu's Cupcakes
7607 E. McDowell Road, Scottsdale
8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Mon-Sat.

Dragonfly Cafe
10135 E. Via Linda Drive, Scottsdale
8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tue-Sat.

Sweet Pea Bakery & Catering
209 W. Jackson Street, Phoenix
10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Tue-Fri; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sat.

Cupcakes are all the rage these days (not that they ever really went out of style), and the credit probably goes to Magnolia Bakery in Greenwich Village, where people line up for pastel frosted cupcakes in chocolate or vanilla. Here in Phoenix, the trend is supported by a handful of bakeries and cafes, one of them devoted exclusively to cupcakes. That would be Lulu's in South Scottsdale, a cute pastel-colored shop at McDowell and Miller Roads, offering seven different flavors known as the Seven Daily Sins. Possibilities include the Blonde Bombshell (vanilla buttercream on vanilla cake), the Raven (chocolate buttercream on chocolate cake), the Mood Elevator (coffee buttercream on chocolate cake) and the Bunny Boo (cream cheese buttercream on carrot cake). They're cute and, at $2.95 a pop, a little expensive, but all of the ingredients are pure and natural; no artificial flavors or colors are used. Meanwhile, Colleen Forgus at Dragonfly Cafe in North Scottsdale has been making gorgeous cupcakes for years now, long before the cupcake craze took hold here in the Valley. She frosts her cupcakes to look like sunflowers, resting atop yellow or chocolate cake. They're almost too pretty to eat, but don't be silly. And by the way, this is a great place to stop for breakfast, a girlie lunch (lots of wonderful salads and sandwiches) or a sophisticated but affordable dinner. In downtown Phoenix, Danielle Librera offers a handful of fetching, ready-made lunch items (all with an emphasis on freshness and simplicity) as well as a display case full of beautiful sweets. Imagine brownie cupcakes with white chocolate ganache or olive oil-carrot cupcakes with mascarpone icing ($2.25 each). There's always a seasonal cupcake, as well as comforting treats such as apricot-walnut-oatmeal cookie, PB&J cookie and lavender shortbread. Everything is delish, but the cupcakes are ridiculously good.