Sprinkles Cupcake Mixes … Are they worth it?

February 10, 2008 at 9:20 pm | Posted in cupcakes | 17 Comments

I think most of us have heard about Sprinkles cupcakes. They claim to be the original cupcake bakery. For some reason I doubt that, but they may be responsible for some of the recent hoopla surrounding cupcakes. I like cupcakes, I always have, but on some level, I feel the cupcake craze is just that, a craze, a fad, something that will be replaced by the next “in” baked good.

Lets be honest with ourselves, if it weren’t cool to like cupcakes, they couldn’t get away with charging $3 a cupcake.

Do you know how many donuts or even muffins you can get at Dunkin Donuts for that price? I can get a muffin and donuts to satisfy my cakey craving and my sweet tooth and my tummy will be far more filled up for the same price.

I can buy a whole package of Oreos at the grocery store for less.

I can get a small cake at the grocery store for the cost of two cupcakes.

I can get 3 boxes of cake mix. While I may not be a fan of mixes, I would still rather use them than pay $3 for a single cupcake.

As ridiculous as I find cupcake costs to be, when I noticed the Sprinkles Cupcake mixes at Williams-Sonoma (aka my home away from home) I almost broke my jaw when it dropped to the floor after seeing the price … $14!?!?!?! I really thought it must have been a joke, there had to be something amazing in those little tubes. Diamonds, gold, $10? There had to be something more than cupcake mix, or that mix had to be one amazing mix. I refused to pay that much for a mix of all things so I relegated myself to never knowing if they were worth it.

Then it happened. The after-after Christmas sale. You know, that table of the very last things, at 75% off, just hoping that someone will take them home. There was one lone box of sprinkles cake mix. $3 and change. Sweet, I can finally see if these things are worth it. The lone container was Mint Chocolate. Not what I would pick as my favorite, but it was my only choice.

I bought my mix, brought it home and opened it up. I looked for my diamonds, but was sadly disappointed. There was a standard looking bag of cake mix and some crushed peppermint to put on top. I pulled out the directions and, as expected, they were similar to standard boxed mix directions. Then I saw the frosting recipe. Here is where I got annoyed. I actually have to go out and buy good chocolate on top of paying $14 for a mix (we’re ignoring the fact that I got it on sale here)? Are you kidding me, these mixed cupcakes would cost about $20 to make. At the very least they should include the chocolate. That would make it a little bit more worth the $14 price tag, but no, I just got a bag-o-mix and some crushed peppermint candy. LAME. These better be amazing cupcakes.

The mixing and baking process is pretty standard as was the frosting making. The cupcakes looked pretty when they came out of the oven, but I had my doubts about them being $14 worth of good. The frosting, on the other hand was very yummy. You don’t actually think I waited to frost the cuppys before tasting, do you?

Greg and I got the cupcakes frosted and it was time to taste. Ehhh they were ok. I’m more of a light and fluffy kind of girl, these are on the denser end of things. They were moist, but I would take a box of betty crocker any day over these cupcakes. The peppermint candy was so meh, that I added jimmies to a bunch of them. They were good, just not spectacular. If they were priced correctly they would cost about what I paid for them, $3 and change. How did I come with this amount? I’ll break it down for you

$1 – regular cake mix cost

$1 – the cute packaging and Sprinkles name

$1 – the wider variety of flavors than is typically available in boxed mixes

and change – the lame crushed peppermint

Total: $3 and change

I think Greg said it best when I asked him what he thought.

N – So what do you think?

G- They’re good

N – Are they $14 worth of good?

G – Why do you need to spend $14? You already have the frosting recipe right here (as he picks up the recipe).

Haha. G was addicted to the frosting and clearly the cupcakes didn’t impress him all that much.

So, in an effort to save you $14 on a mix that is no tastier than a $.99 box I bring you the frosting recipe …

Dark Chocolate Frosting

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

pinch of salt

2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners sugar

1/4 tsp vanilla

3oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to room temperature


In a stand mixer beat the butter and salt on medium speed until fluffy

Turn to low and slowly add confectioners sugar

Mix in vanilla

Turn to medium and add chocolate.





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  1. I highly doubted they would be as good as they claim. I’m glad you found some on sale to confirm my suspicions though. That icing looks yum! I’m writing it down to use on an upcoming dessert. πŸ™‚

  2. I recently tested out Barefoot Contessa’s box cupcake mix too. I agree, hers was 10 bucks as well, and not worth it. I am a box mix snob as it is. Glad to know this one wasnt anything special.

  3. Thanks for clearing this up. There’s no way even my greatest curiosity could have convinced me to spend $14, so I am glad you found it on sale and let us all know what we weren’t missing. I hope that your bday cakes, from all sources, are at least a little more satisfying. I love G’s part of the conversation too!

  4. I live very close to a Sprinkles Cupcake in Beverly Hills. I have NEVER gone there! What a rip off to charge $5 for a cupcake. I reject them… totally. Thanks for the testing and the review. My cupcake theories are still in tact. I will always make my own, from scratch.

  5. So let me break it down… overpriced, un-moist, no precious gemstones, uncomplete cupcakes that originally cost $14 = not worth it. Sound about right? What a let down. I have yet to try a sprinkle cupcake but really not in a rush either. Thanks for the review.

  6. JOY – omg I thought they were only $3, but $5 is just obcene

    CB – yes that’s exactly it

  7. Wow. Totally lame! I figured as much. It’s amazing what people try to get away with just with a name. Thanks for being our guinea pig! πŸ™‚

  8. Ha! Great post. Glad to know before buying that these aren’t worth it. I live near a Sprinkles and have yet to purchase one myself…though I did have the pleasure of enjoying one (ok, two) when someone brought in a bunch for us as a treat at work πŸ™‚

  9. Oh they’re great as long as you don’t have to pay for them πŸ˜›

  10. Ha! Thanks so much for doing this! I can’t stand it when pricey items don’t live up to the hype – I feel so ripped off!

  11. They could’ve at least included some cute cupcake wrappers, or the little sprinkles dot or something!

  12. You are so funny~ my mom did the same thing! She didn’t tell me about it but she picked some up on sale and made them for our “rejection of the SuperBowl” party. I had no idea and brought over my cupcakes. She thought she was being SO sly but boy were these ever weak. We agreed, the frosting was good but it really isn’t that crazy original of a recipe for pete’s sake.
    Thanks for posting- anything in the name of all things cupcakery, right?!?!

  13. ^yep the frosting is anything, but original

  14. I have always wondered about these. Thanks for the review, now I know. And a special thanks for the frosting recipe!

  15. I got the peppermint ones (haven’t tried) on sale for .99 cents at Sonoma. I got 2 pumpkin ones too. My pumpkin which I just made today came with sprinkles. I made the icing. Fabulous. It is a cinnamon cream cheese frosting with the perfect texture. I will be eating a cupcake later. I made them in the pumpkin muffin mold I got a sonoma on sale for 6.99 during the big sale. I live in Toronto.

    Let you know later. xoxoLinda

  16. HI girls back again. I just had the pumpkin cupcake with the fabulous cinnamon cream cheese icing. They were absolute delicious. My boyfriend had 2 cupcakes. I made half the recipe for icing cause I ran out of icing and that was just the right amount for the dozen cupcakes. I also didn’t use paper cups. Excellent. Linda

  17. The LA Times published the recipe for Sprinkles coconut cupcakes….here it is:

    Great-Grandma’s Coconut Cupcakes

    From Sprinkles pastry chef Candace Nelson

    Makes 18 to 20

    2 cups sifted cake flour

    2 teaspoons baking powder

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    2/3 cup whole milk

    3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    3/4 teaspoon coconut extract

    1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

    1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

    2 large egg whites, plus 1 whole large egg

    Make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. Heat the oven to 350 degrees and line two greased standard muffin pans with cupcake liners. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a measuring cup, combine the milk and extracts. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg whites and the egg and mix until they are combined. Add half of the flour mixture and mix until it is combined. Gradually drizzle in all the milk mixture. Add the remaining dry mixture and mix carefully until just combined. Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake cups (they should be two-thirds full) and bake about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cake springs back when pressed lightly and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.


    Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting

    Makes about 2 1/2 cups

    8 ounces cold cream cheese

    8 tablespoons butter (1 stick)

    1/8 teaspoon salt

    3 3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar

    1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

    1/2 cup sweetened coconut shavings

    In the bowl of an electric mixer, slowly mix the cream cheese, butter and salt until fluffy and combined. Slowly add the powdered sugar. Mix in the extracts until incorporated and the frosting is smooth. Frost each cooled cupcake with about 2 tablespoons of frosting and immediately top with 1 teaspoon of sweetened coconut shavings.


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