Fifteen or twenty years ago, when bottled water became all the rage in the U.S., comedian George Carlin did a routine about it and asked the audience, "When did we all get so thirsty?" Looking around the streets of fashionable neighborhoods in Mexico City I similarly ask myself, "When did everybody get so desperate for cupcakes?" Pictured above is the first cupcake culprit, in the Colonia Condesa. When it opened, it was advertised as having an owner (or perhaps a baker) called Tom, who I assume was a gringo. Soon spawn appeared.

And appeared.

And appeared.

Even a luncheonette chain called Bisquets, whose specialty is traditional Mexican sweet rolls, is getting into the act.

I asked friends about the phenomenon and they told me that we have to thank the TV program Sex and the City for all this. Having lived without a television for much of my life, I had never seen the protagonists of that show frequenting the Magnolia Bakery in New York for their cupcake fixes. Apparently similar "cupcakerías" opened across the U.S., before snaking their way across the southern border.

Commenting on the craze, a woman from the U.S. who lives in Mexico rolled her eyes and said, "Cupcakes are so 2009."