My love for cupcakes is already well-documented in this blog. They’re “cakes for one,” essentially, and what single person doesn’t appreciate the ability to buy something in a single-sized package? So I always perk up a bit when I see a store devoted to cupcakes wherever I go.
There used to be a great little cupcake place on the Street of Dreams in the Monte Carlo (which I believe closed–sob). The Downtown Container Park has CupKates. And the Linq has Sprinkles. But Sprinkles has a bit of an edge, in my opinion, because here, you can get your cupcake fix 24/7 thanks to the most ingenious invention known to humankind: The cupcake ATM.
When you’ve got a cupcake craving, and you just can’t wait for a store to open, or it’s 2am or the line at the counter is out the door…no problem. Just head to the pink Sprinkles cupcake ATM (located on the wall to the side of the store, in a little outdoor sitting area), swipe your credit card and choose your cupcake. From there, the machine selects a cupcake in the flavor you chose (already packaged in a cute little takeout container) and slides it into the dispenser. The door opens, and voila! Instant cupcake.
I had two Sprinkles cupcakes on this trip, one from the ATM and one from the counter inside the store. I had to try the ATM first, of course, for the experience. (There was never a line here when I walked by.) After scrolling through photos of the cupcake flavors available, I ordered a Black and White, which was a Belgian dark chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting and chocolate shavings on top.
I have to admit, my biggest fear about ordering a cupcake from a machine was that it might not be all that fresh. When I was growing up, you could buy things like coffee, cocoa, soup and sandwiches from vending machines. But you didn’t want to unless you were desperate, because even when they weren’t stale, they didn’t taste like real food. It’s funny how we moved away from that trend for decades and now have come full circle, with vending machines for everything from fresh fruit and cupcakes to wine. We’ve come a long way, baby.
My fears based on my childhood experiences were unfounded. The cake was moist and best of all, didn’t crumble all over the place. The frosting was just the right creamy texture and sweetness without being too stiff or overbearing. In short, it was delicious. (Sorry, I inhaled the cupcake and forgot to take a picture of it.)
That said, the cupcake ATM is not perfect.
The selection of cupcake flavors in the ATM is limited. For more variety, you really should go inside the store. There, I ordered a Cuban Coffee cupcake–a Belgian light chocolate cupcake with coffee-flavored frosting. It wasn’t the prettiest cupcake I’ve ever seen, but I really enjoyed the coffee-and-chocolate combo. Service was great, but there also wasn’t much of a line-up when I was there.
Prices inside the store were cheaper. At the ATM, my cupcake cost $4.59. Inside the store, it cost $3.75. Now, maybe that was a coincidence. Maybe the Black and White just happens to be more expensive than the Cuban Coffee. But I got the impression I was paying extra for the convenience of the ATM. So go inside for a cheaper cupcake.
You have to use a credit card to pay. The machine doesn’t take cash. I didn’t mind this, but I know some people do.
The store also serves ice cream, but you know why you can’t get that in the ATM, right?
Still, I’m happy the cupcake ATM is there, because I’m one of those people who often has cravings for snacks late at night after most places are closed. Bananas and granola bars get old real fast and I don’t always want to waste time going to a 24-hour cafe just to grab something to eat. It’s nice having an option like this for a treat I can eat quickly on the spot or bring back to my room. I always bought my cupcakes in the afternoon or evening and they were still fine without refrigeration by the time I ate them late at night.
I’m really impressed with the creative flavors Sprinkles offers and I’ll certainly return here again to try some new ones. In fact, I honestly can’t see ever ordering dessert in a restaurant in this neighborhood when you could just as easily swing by Sprinkles afterwards for something sweet. (There’s also a Ghirardelli store across the way.)