Mixed Review: Sprinkles Pumpkin Cupcake Mix

Mixed Review

We bake from the box.

"Even the dot was delicious!"


Sprinkles, the wildly popular cupcake bakery that started in Beverly Hills, has been touted by many celebrities including Jon Stewart, Bobby Flay, and Oprah, and featured in countless publications (like Bon App├ętit, Food & Wine, and the Los Angeles Times.) While other cupcakeries, such as New York's Magnolia, stick to classic flavors like vanilla and devil's food, Sprinkles offers up more than twenty inventive varieties including chai latte, coconut marshmallow, and ginger lemon. Distinguished by their signature dots, these sweet little confections are arguably the most famous dessert in Hollywood.

Recently, Williams-Sonoma paired up with Sprinkles to create a line of cupcake mixes, so even if you don't live in 90210 territory you can still get your sugar fix.

The mixes highlight top-notch ingredients like Callebaut cocoa and Nielsen-Massey Madagascar bourbon vanilla. At $14 a box (for 12 cupcakes) the mixes aren't cheap, but when you consider that a dozen cupcakes at the bakery costs $36, it can almost be seen as a bargain.

Sprinkles founder Candace Nelson says that for her, pumpkin "is a flavor that never goes out of season." That's why the bakery menu features pumpkin cupcakes all year long, and presumably also why it's one of the mix flavors. I don't know about you, but while Nelson may long for pumpkin in July, I crave the spicy flavor most right now, at the start of the fall holidays. That's why I tested out Sprinkles' pumpkin mix for this week's Mixed Review.

The mix isn't as 1-2-3 as standard supermarket varieties. It requires the additions of 1 stick of butter, 3 eggs, and 2/3 cup of milk, and there is a suggested recipe for cinnamon-cream cheese frosting made entirely from scratch. Still, the batter came together in five minutes, which is certainly less time than if I had measured out all those 1/2 and 1/4 teaspoons of nutmeg and ground ginger myself.


20091022-sprinklescupcakes1.jpgAfter dividing the batter between the cupcake cups, I couldn't resist licking the spoon (and, um, the beaters and the sides of the bowl). The fresh taste of pumpkin was incredible. It reminded me of pie filling made from homemade squash puree.

After 30 minutes in the oven, my cupcakes emerged a deep, toasty orange. I quickly whipped up the frosting and topped each with a generous schmear, plus one of Sprinkles' signature orange and brown sugar dots. The texture of the cupcake was near perfection: crumby and luscious, not too dense and not too airy.

The fresh pumpkin flavor was complemented by lots of cinnamon and hints of clove. Even the dot was delicious! I was completely wowed by this mix. The pumpkin cupcakes were the best from-a-mix version I've ever had. I would highly recommend the Sprinkles mix as an ideal hostess gift, or a quick fix holiday dessert option.