Sunday, April 6, 2014

Dessert | Sprinkles Cupcake ATM (NYC)

On Saturday, Jess and I found our way to the latest queuein' craze in New York City: the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM. Currently residing right next to the NYC flagship location, the Cupcake ATM opened two weeks ago, and we both definitely were fascinated not only by its novelty, but also about how it worked. I mean, c'mon! How can you not be curious about it?

By the time we got there on Saturday afternoon around 4 PM, there was already a line past the entrance of Sprinkles Cupcakes, but in the grand scheme of things (for a NYC line, that is), it wasn't bad at all.

Lo' and behold -- the Cupcake ATM in the flesh:

We made sure not to read too much about it so that when it came to be our turn, we'd be magically surprised. For all we knew, there was someone behind the contraption, manning the ATM orders. Boy did we underestimate the Cupcake ATM! You can see lit-up shelves lined with individually boxed cupcakes behind the translucent storefront, which incidentally holds up to 760 treats (cupcakes, cookies, etc.). The machine is continuously restocked throughout the day and evening with baked goods no more than several hours old and close to 20 flavors at a time. The best part? Just like a financial institution's ATM, the Cupcake ATM is open 24 hours, seven days a week!

After waiting about 20-25 minutes (and contemplating this month's flavors), it was finally our turn! The screen asks you to press it to begin, and it prompts you to select a cupcake flavor. I believe you can select up to four cupcakes per transaction (as the first iteration of the machine in Beverly Hills was upgraded from one to four at a time). After you select your desired flavor(s), credit card payment is requested, and then the magic begins.

The Cupcake ATM screen shows an internal camera of the ATM at work -- essentially the robotic requisition of your desired cupcake(s). So cool, right?! Wait, there's more!

Once the Cupcake ATM has done its handy work (a minute or so), the dispenser door opens up, and voilà -- a literal cupcake withdrawal!

Me with the ridiculously cute Cupcake ATM!

Jess withdrew the last dark chocolate (Belgian dark chocolate cake with bittersweet chocolate frosting), which is always a go-to for us. She also got a second flavor -- coconut (Madagascar bourbon vanilla cake with coconut cream cheese frosting).

As for me, I withdrew two flavors of the month -- Cuban coffee (pictured above: Belgian light chocolate cake with powerful coffee frosting and notes of cinnamon and cocoa) and lemon meringue (graham cracker-lined fragrant lemon cake filled with lemon curd topped with toasted meringue) as well as triple cinnamon (lightly spiced buttermilk cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting dusted with cinnamon sugar), which is now my new favorite.

Until next time...

Findings: While many people may remain skeptical about the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM, I think the idea is ingenious, and the execution embodies this ingenuity in its streamlined and awe-striking design. Talk about satisfying the late-night munchies with a moist and perfectly sweet treat from Sprinkles at any hour of the night! And like you may pay a convenience fee at a monetary ATM, there is a 75-cent premium added to the bakery's per-cupcake price for all cupcakes withdrawn from the Cupcake ATM -- which makes total sense given the extra packaging and added convenience. The novelty of the Cupcake ATM reignites a familiar excitement to a city where the cupcake has come and gone in the last decade. Highly recommended to impress out-of-towners (or even for someone who needs to renew his or her faith in the gratification received from enjoying a dessert as simple as a cupcake, especially one dispensed from an ATM for cupcakes)! I would say it's definitely something to try once yourself -- you'll be glad you did. Otherwise, you can't go wrong with the flagship bakery (see reviews here and here) right next door.

Price point: $4.25 for each ATM-withdrawn cupcake (originally $3.50 from bakery)

--April 5, 2014

Sprinkles Cupcake ATM
780 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10065

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