The Story: In 2002, California-based Candace Nelson, former investment banker turned pastry chef, decided to shift her focus from baking cakes to making cupcakes. In 2005, Nelson and her husband Charles opened Sprinkles Cupcakes. The first week they sold 2,000 cupcakes, and since then, the couple has expanded their business with 12 locations throughout the United States, and they plan to open in 15 more cities abroad.
The company’s success has allowed them to explore other ventures, namely the Cupcake ATM. Nelson’s idea for the innovative machine came while she was pregnant with her second son. She thought it was rather ridiculous that she owned cupcake bakeries, yet she couldn’t get a freshly baked treat at an odd hour. The craving led to what is reportedly a $9 million chain.
The Look: The bright pink machine with the words “Cupcake ATM” neatly printed on it stands beside blue, green, pink, and red metal grates. Behind the automat’s grates, you can see 600 freshly made boxed cupcakes ready for the day.
The Cupcakes: The ATM can hold up to 760 cupcakes at a time in 20 different varieties. Currently, you can only choose from nine flavors: black and white, chocolate coconut, Cuban coffee, dark chocolate, lemon meringue, red velvet, strawberry, and vanilla or vanilla milk chocolate for the price of $4.25 per cupcake. You can also get two special mini cupcakes (sugar-free with yogurt frosting) designed for dogs for $5.
The Scene: Located on the Upper West Side, the bakery is open Monday through Saturday from 9am to 9pm and Sunday from 10am to 8pm, leaving the ATM to cover sugar fixes after-hours. According to staff, there are often lines from 11am to 2am.
Sprinkles Cupcake ATM
780 Lexington Ave.