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3 a.m. cupcakes, coming right up

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March 12, 2012|By Mick Swasko, RedEye

By the summer, Chicago will be home to an ATM that doles out cupcakes in place of cash.

Sprinkles Cupcakes manager Ashley Triestram said the bakery at 50 E. Walton St. is one of three stores nationwide given high priority for a 24-hour automated cupcake machine. The machine, which should be installed sometime this summer, can hold 600 cupcakes as well as store apparel and dog treats, and will be in operation 24 hours a day.

"Who doesn't want a cupcake at 3 a.m.," Triestram said of the ATM, which will ideally be located outside the current location, but if that won't work, will be in a spot somewhere downtown. The idea, already in place in the store's Beverly Hills, Calif., location, came from one of Sprinkles' founders, whose pregnancy left her craving confections at odd hours.

"Now [customers] have that chance to have that Sprinkles' experience instead of having to work around the times that we're open," she said.

The ATM already has seen long lines at the West Coast bakery, where sweet enthusiasts have waited longer for the novelty of using the machine than entering the store. But Triestram said the technology should make it quicker for those who just want one or two of the treats.

But don't be fooled, Triestram said. Though the machine looks the size of a standard ATM, it takes an operation about the size of three vending machines to store the hundreds of cupcakes inside, all of which are the featured menu items of the day.

Sprinkles also will place machines in New York and Washington, D.C., this summer, and eventually, the chain plans to post them in all 10 of its U.S. locations.

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