You can thank New York’s Magnolia for sparking the cupcake craze. The bakery’s confections drew long lines and celebrity devotees, inspiring countless imitators to try to cash in on our growing addiction to mini cakes covered in gooey frosting. The question, of course, is what to do when cupcake cravings grip you in the middle of the night and all the shops are closed. If you live in L.A., it’s as simple as hitting the ATM. The sweet geniuses behind Sprinkles, which they claim to be the first cupcake-devoted bakery in the world, have introduced a 24-hour cupake automat.
Customers can pull up to the pink machine, swipe their credit cards, select one of eight flavors, and receive an individually boxed $4 cupcake. "I conceived the idea of an automatic cupcake machine after having late-night sugar cravings while pregnant with my second son," Sprinkles’ cofounder Candace Nelson tells the Washington Post. "Even as Sprinkles’ founder, I couldn’t get my midnight cupcake fix!" Nelson is also a judge on the Food Network’s competition show Cupcake Wars.
The machine is intended not only to satisfy late-night fixes but for customers with dogs who can’t step inside the shop during the day. It can hold 600 cupcakes and will not be restocked for the four hours during which the bakery is closed, from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. If there’s a better symbol of Americans’ preoccupation with instant gratification, we can’t think of it.