Baking News: NYC Has Its First 24-Hour Cupcake ATM
This is the zenith of first-world achievement.
What? A mother-lovin’ 24-hour Automatic Teller Machine for cupcakes. Where? 780 Lexington Avenue. Why? Because obviously one of the inalienable rights of being an American is the opportunity to stand in line on a freezing street corner and wait for a robot to hand you miniature cakes.
After years of anticipation, Sprinkles bakery’s Cupcake ATM opened yesterday to unabashed excitement. A crowd had already formed before the machine turned on at 9 am, and DNAinfo reports a consistent line of 12-15 customers throughout the day. Sprinkles’ New York location is also open from 9AM-9PM on weekdays, so it was likely the novelty of the machine that had customers drooling with anticipation yesterday even during bakery hours.
As excited as I am by the magical mechanics of the cupcake contraption, describing the devil-box as an “ATM” rather than a vending machine seems misleading. “ATM” implies that I have stored up a collection of cupcakes in one place and, assuming I am using a machine offered by my cupcake bank, will be able to access said hoard free of charge. Sadly, cupcakes are not yet being used as currency in the United States, so even though I can make a cupcake withdrawal from Sprinkles’ ATM by swiping a bank card, I am essentially paying for the cupcake in the same way I would with a human at a bakery.
However, Sprinkles allegedly took steps yesterday to make sure the grand opening of the machine made customers feel as if they were simply accessing their own personal supply of cupcakes—the first 50 customers to whisper “cupcake withdrawals” to the machine yesterday received a surprise. Typically, though, “cupcake withdrawal” will refer to jonesing for sweet sweet miniature baked goods, not removing savings from your cupcake account.
Lest the word ATM dissuade customers with its dingy bodega implications, Sprinkles says the machine will constantly be filled with baked goods no more than several hours old, and it’s mostly designed so that New Yorkers who want a sweet treat outside of bakery hours won’t be forced to go the Sallie Mae route.
Bakery founder Candace Nelson says the idea was borne from her own late-night pregnancy cravings (God bless you, baby!), explaining, “Even as Sprinkles’ founder, I couldn’t get my midnight cupcake fix! I thought ‘there has to be a way’ and so the concept of the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM was born.”
The machine will hold 760 cakes at a time and will deliver flavors such as chocolate marshmallow, chai latte and lemon coconut to customers via robotic arm. Sprinkles has already tested out its ATM model in Beverly Hills, Atlanta, Chicago, and Las Vegas, so sadly this isn’t an “only in New York!” boast-worthy development.
That didn’t quell the excitement of yesterday’s customers. One frequent visitor to the city, Mary Ann, said to DNAinfo, “I can look forward to this every time I come back now. I think it’s really great that it’s 24 hours, and I can come here whenever to get a cupcake.”
Mary Ann reportedly declined to give her last name, but hopefully the growing ubiquity of Cupcake ATMs will reduce sweet tooth stigma and cover up New York’s trademark aroma of garbage, poop and regret.