Cupcake Nation 

How a simple dessert lights up a celebration.

click to enlarge food50_cupcake_100.jpg

They never really went out of vogue, but cupcakes are making a strong comeback across the country as a favorite comfort-food dessert — eclipsing fancier confections with European names and lots more butter and cream.

Local caterer Margaret Doyle can attest that people here are clamoring for cupcakes — the more whimsical and icing-covered, the better. Her 5-year-old business, Espresso-A-Go-Go, is well-known on the corporate and private party circuit for creative, festive fare that's personalized for each occasion.

At Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, she's selling lattes, hot chocolate and holiday cookies, and on Merry Mondays offers kits for do-it-yourself s'mores that customers take to the garden fire pit for roasting during Gardenfest of Lights, through Jan. 14.

Doyle reprises the concept with a s'more cupcake, using chocolate chip devil's food for the batter, baking a marshmallow in the middle, finishing it with vanilla buttercream icing and with s'more garnishes.

She's also filling orders for dozens of gingerbread cupcakes, green tea cupcakes with lavender buttercream icing and red velvet cupcakes with cocoa-dusted white frosting. More traditional favorites are applesauce spice with cinnamon-sugar icing and anything involving chocolate, the most-requested ingredient.

"I love them because they're like a team sport to make," Doyle says of cupcakes. "You can decorate them the way you want to, there's no math, no game plan, you can just throw stuff on. It's a great memory producer."

Her business phone is 503-0120. S

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