Cupcakes stand alone, but in seemingly endless size and variety. Starting with the classic vanilla with chocolate frosting, these Long Island boutique bakeries are reinvigorating the cupcake, adding popular candies inside and out and creating cupcakes from more traditional desserts like red-velvet cake, rainbow cookies and waffle cones. When you crave a ready-to-eat treat, several places are ready to help.

Cupcake Gourmet 46-I Gerard St., Huntington (enter through parking lot on Clinton Avenue) 631-683-4100

WHAT'S BAKING: Nearly 80 varieties of cupcakes, many studded inside and out with different candies (from Chunky bars to Whoppers), and some even baked in waffle cones. Owner Amy Brady says men prefer the peanut-butter chocolate, though women seem to want red velvet, and children favor "funfetti," a vanilla cupcake topped with a swirl of frosting and dappled with candy confetti. Cupcakes come in three sizes: mini, $1.50; regular, $2.50; jumbo, $3.50.

ICING ON THE CAKE: With seating for about 20 in a cheery purple-and-green interior and extra-long hours, Cupcake Gourmet invites customers to linger over cupcakes and assorted beverages. They do kids' birthday parties and cordial-stuffed cupcakes for the adult crowd on weekends.

ALSO TRY : Nearby in Huntington village, Cupcake Contessas confections at Renaissance Gourmet and Restaurant Joanina (35-A Gerard St., 631-549-2727).

My Little Cupcake 47 Boundary Ave., Farmingdale 516-694-1694

WHAT'S BAKING: Professional pastry chef Lisa Doht's shop turns out dozens of varieties of mini ($11.95 a dozen) and regular-size cupcakes that range in price from $1.75 to $2.95 each. This bakery's treats include peanut-butter and jelly, stuffed with jelly and topped with peanut-butter buttercream, along with bestsellers that include rainbow-cookie cupcake and carrot walnut cupcake.

ICING ON THE CAKE: The frosting on these cupcakes seems to melt in your mouth, and the bakery also sells single-cupcake boxes in pastel colors, making a gift of a single cupcake its own event.

Slap-Happy Baking Co. 1875 Wantagh Ave., Wantagh 516-221-1355

WHAT'S BAKING: Dozens of varieties, including specialties like "sugar-rush," a filled chocolate-cake and chocolate-fondant-topped concoction, and dulce de leche, which owner Meredith Stone says is the newest flavor. The bestseller? It's a tossup between the carrot cake -- made without raisins and nuts -- and red velvet, Stone says. They come in two sizes: minis, 75 cents; regular, $1.50 to $2.

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ICING ON THE CAKE: These cupcakes are a terrific value, and, because Slap-Happy is open early, it's a perfect place to stop for treats for your child's school birthday party -- or pick up some for your co-workers on your way to work.

"Hello, Cupcake!" class

Sur la Table 1468 Northern Blvd., Manhasset 516-365-3928

WHEN: 6-9 p.m. Dec. 1 and 2 (wait-list spots available)

COST: $89

Karen Tack, author of cupcake-baking book "Hello, Cupcake!" shows students how to turn cupcakes into snow globes, edible ornaments and snowmen.