Behind Sprinkles' 24-hour Cupcake Automat

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This idea is too good to not dig into further (pun intended). L.A.-headquartered Sprinkles Cupcakes recently announced the launch of its 24-hour Cupcake ATM, which will be dispensing freshly baked cupcakes at all hours of the day. The idea, as you can imagine, has spread like wildfire over the internet and mainstream media (it appeared on the Today Show this morning), yet the machine itself has yet to debut.

Sprinkles founder Candace Nelson, who also appears as a judge on the Food Network's Cupcake Wars, says that--surprise!--she conceived the idea while she was pregnant with her second son. "Even as Sprinkles' founder, I couldn't get my midnight cupcake fix," she said in a statement. So the idea of the cupcake ATM was born even before her child was.

The machine is located on South Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills, sandwiched between the Sprinkles cupcake store and Sprinkles' latest enterprise, Sprinkles Ice Cream, set to open later this year. The machine, billed as the world's first cupcake "automat," is not in operation yet, but Sprinkles representative Nicole Schwartz says that it should be up and running within two weeks.

Like this French baguette vending machine we wrote about earlier, the goods to emerge from the ATM will be fresh from the oven--even those purchased at midnight, after store hours, will only have been baked a couple hours earlier. "The machine is attached to our bakery, which is essentially a 24-hour operation," explains Schwartz. There's only a small gap between the time closers leave at night and when the bakers arrive in the wee hours of 2:00-3:00 a.m. "We'll constantly be restocking the automate with freshly baked cupcakes."

For those wondering about their babies getting bruised traveling through the custom-built machine's entrails, "each cupcake will be individually packaged so there is no danger of your cupcake getting smashed," Schwartz says. " It will constantly be restocked and checked throughout the day by our bakery staff."

At capacity, the machine can hold 600 orders. Cupcakes will be priced at $4 apiece, and the automat will supply eight different flavors, including the cupcake of the day.

Eventually, those who don't live in L.A. will be able to get their own midnight cupcake fixes. Sprinkles plans to roll out the machines in other cities, but only those with Sprinkles shops. "The automats are dependent on our bakeries to receive fresh cupcakes," says Schwartz.

Keep tabs on the Sprinkles Cupcake Automat on its Facebook page.

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