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Hot Tips: C is For

C is for... all the candy-coated confections that have suddenly become the main course at cafés across the country. Take the cupcake—a zillion-dollar industry spawned by the sweet success of New York's Magnolia Bakery (401 Bleecker St.; 212/462-2572), which sells about 3,000 buttercream-frosted treats a day. No need to join the line out front: Magnolia knockoffs have surfaced all over Manhattan, as well as in Chicago (Sweet Mandy B's, 1208 W. Webster Ave.; 773/244-1174), Seattle (Cupcake Royale, 1101 34th Ave.; 206/709-4497), D.C. (Love Café, 1501 U St. NW; 202/265-9800), and L.A. (Sprinkles Cupcakes, 9635 Little Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills; 310/274-8765). Craving more?Cereality, a new chain of not-just-breakfast bars in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Tempe, Arizona, serves Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, and some 30 other brands day and night. (The truly indulgent can opt for malted milk balls or M&M's on top.) Coming next: cafés devoted to cookies. At New York's Milk & Cookies Bakery (19 Commerce St.; 212/243-1640), choose from a menu of doughs and mix-ins, and eat the just-baked results at a plaid cloth–covered banquette—with a glass of milk, of course. —EMILY SHETLER

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