Full Disclosure: I paid for this dessert with my own money and the opinions are completely my own.
Let’s flash back a couple of weeks: I was in Chicago for work. I walked around a lot. I was on a mission for cupcakes.
Every time I am in Chicago it feels like I should have exhausted my options for Cupcakes in the city, but there always seems to be one that I still haven’t tried. Cupcakes are a pretty trendy food item right now, so maybe that shouldn’t surprise me as much as it does.
This past time that I was in Chicago I really didn’t have much time. My schedule was packed with work, so really the free time that I did have on Saturday night was spent finding food for dinner and relaxing in my hotel room so that I can recuperate and do the same thing the next day. However, one of the things that I love about Chicago is that from where I generally stay – the River North area – there is quite a lot within walking distance for me to explore. (Random side note: I really dislike driving in downtown Chicago. I’d rather walk five miles in a day and maybe have sore legs than try to navigate the crazy people and cars.)
For dinner, I decided to head out for some Chicago Style pizza. There are quite a few pizza places in Chicago, and this time I realized why: when you have a craving for pizza and the first place you go to already has a 90 minute wait at 5:30pm, you will easily find somewhere else. After a couple of tries, I did find a pizza place with a much more reasonable wait time and ate there. More on that later.
On my way to find dinner I mapped my path so that it would take my by a cupcake shop – Sprinkles to be exact. I was excited about getting the Sprinkles cupcakes because they were the first cupcake bakery in existence – that was back in 2005 when cupcakes were not nearly as trendy as they are now. I was also excited to go to Sprinkles because the Chicago location is one of only three Sprinkles locations to have a Cupcake ATM! It actually just opened at the beginning of August!
When I walked by on the way to dinner, the lines for both the ATM and the store were very long. I was definitely too hungry to wait in line for cupcakes before dinner, so I decided to try again on my way back to the hotel. Unfortunately the lines a few hours later, when I was done with dinner, we just as long. However, since I really didn’t have anything else to do I decided to stick it out and wait. Hopefully the cupcakes would be delicious and worth it! Since I would be waiting in line either way, I decided to wait for the Cupcake ATM. I was intrigued by the novelty of it, and I just had to try it.
Luckily, the line went pretty fast and watching the other people in line getting their cupcakes was pretty entertaining as well. There are few things to note about the Cupcake ATM before I get into the actual cupcakes. It only takes credit cards – luckily there was an employee there letting people know this because it was not clear otherwise. The machine only will dispense one cupcake at a time. This means that if you want more than one, you have to go through the transaction multiple times. I ended up getting three cupcakes total, and while it was a little annoying I had to go through it three times, it really didn’t take that long. The machine is open 24 hours – I definitely suggest going at off times to avoid the lines!
The three flavors I got were Strawberry, S’Mores, and Chocolate Peanut Butter (for the husband of course.) I felt like I was taking a risk trying them first out of the machine rather than in the bakery. Yes, I know they are still freshly made, but for some reason something about getting them out of a vending machine made me feel like maybe they wouldn’t be as good. Luckily, I think my suspicions were wrong – these cupcakes were moist and delicious! As you can see from the photo above, the S’mores cupcake had a fresh and gooey marshmallow topping with a chocolate cupcake and a graham cracker crumb bottom. The other one that I ate – and probably my favorite out of the two – was the strawberry. It was strawberry cake with a light sweet strawberry frosting. I’m not sure I’ve ever even had strawberry cake before – other strawberry cupcakes that I’ve have have just been vanilla with a whole strawberry inside. This was delicious. Moist, slightly sweet, and had a definite real strawberry taste. In fact, it is probably one of my all time favorite cupcakes! The husband liked the chocolate peanut butter, but it wasn’t his favorite. It was more chocolate with some peanut butter and he prefers it to be mostly peanut butter flavor with some chocolate.
One of the big things that I liked about these cupcakes in comparison to others is the frosting to cupcake ratio. I am definitely someone who doesn’t love a ton of frosting on their cupcake, so these were perfect for me. Enough frosting to have a little bit with each bite of cupcake, but I didn’t have a pile of extra frosting left over when I was done.
These were definitely worth the wait, and now I realize why there were such long lines!
Taste: A+, some of my favorites!
Cost: A, in the machine they are a solid $4.00 which isn’t really all that bad considering the quality!
Would I go there again? Definitely. Of the places that are walkable from where I generally stay, this is one of my favorites in Chicago – I’m glad I waited in line to check it out! Hopefully as time goes by it won’t be as crowded all of the the time.