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The numbers don't lie. Last year, a jaw-dropping 770 million cupcakes were consumed in the United States--or roughly two-and-a-half cupcakes for every single person in the country. "Cake" ranked #5 among the top 10 most popular food- and drink-related search terms in 2012, according to Google Trends. The year before, Crumbs Bake Shop went public with an IPO valued at $66 million.

It's time we admitted it: America has a pastry obsession.

Carrie Bradshaw may be to blame for igniting our national adoration of sweets, but the cupcake craze that Sex and the City spawned has persisted long after the show's conclusion. In fact, while food writers have been quick to predict the end of the trend (pointing variously to mini Bundt cakes and macarons as the next big thing in baked goods) one need only consider the fact that 16 million viewers watched the last season of Food Network's Cupcake Wars to know that Americans still adore their cupcakes.

Food-centric cable channels have been quick to pick up on America's growing sweet tooth, ever since the owners of Georgetown Cupcake scored their own reality TV show, D.C. Cupcakes, in 2003. Turn on the tube today and a slew of would-be confectionary masterminds compete for our attention on shows like Ace of Cakes, Cake Boss, Cake Challenges, Next Great Baker, Ultimate Cake-Off, Dessert First, Last Cake Standing, Sugar Dome, Sugar High (the list goes on).

Pastry chefs, long overshadowed by their savory-minded kitchen counterparts, have begun to step out into the spotlight as a result. Take Food & Wine's decision last spring to publish its inaugural list of the Best New Pastry Chefs of 2012. It's not so far-fetched to imagine that, in a few years' time, the best pastry chefs will be household names on par with the Daniel Bouluds and Ferran Adrias of the cooking world.

The craze of the moment may change--perhaps drive-through pie shops will one day replace the 24-hour cupcake ATM--but chances are good that America's pastry obsession will carry on, with or without the fancy toppings. After all, if cupcakes are any indication it's comfort, not complexity, that diners crave in their desserts.

"I've learned to look at simple ingredients and find ways to make them luxurious while preserving their simplicity," says Matthew Gallagher, Executive Chef at The Capital Grille, citing the restaurant's fluffy - and wildly popular - cheesecake. With a tempting list of desserts from coconut cream pie to flourless chocolate espresso cake, all freshly made in-house every day, The Capital Grille is the perfect place to indulge your sweet tooth, especially this Valentine Day. Click here to make your reservation today.