The Vending Machine That Serves Up Cans Of Cake (And Where You Can Find One)

The history of the vending machine goes back thousands of years. In the first century A.D., the Greek engineer and mathematician Hero Alexandria — who also brought us the steam engine, the windwheel, and the syringe — kicked things off with a machine that traded coins for holy water as a means of preventing greedy churchgoers from taking more than their fair share of godly H20. 

Nearly 2,000 years later, in 1822, the English bookseller Richard Carlile picked up where Alexandria left off by developing a contraption that dispensed newspapers. Subsequent models doled out stamps, stationary, soft drinks, coffee, sandwiches, and snacks. 

Even today, the vending machine is still evolving. In Japan, which may or may not be the vending-machine capital of the world, you'll find machines that dispense everything from popcorn to sake to novelty t-shirts. The United States seems to be catching on. Case in point: At a mall in Texas, you can pay a metal box for cake in a can.

From Tokyo to El Paso

One of the first canned cake machines — which is reportedly out of commission — was located in Tokyo's bustling Shibuya Station. It was inspired by a dessert from Parfaiteria Bel, a pop-up store from the popular patisserie Okashi Gaku, and has since made its way to Singapore. More recently, the idea has picked up steam in El Paso, Texas, courtesy of local brand The Cake Boutique. 

In a TikTok video, @hipmexi pays a visit to the curious contraption and selects a strawberry Can Cake. After some initial skepticism, the user confirms that the compact dessert is worth it. They peel back the lid to reveal a layer of light pink frosting topped with pink sprinkles before digging under the surface for a spoonful of spongy-looking pink cake. Other flavors include chocolate, cookies and cream, lemon, confetti, carrot, pistachio, red velvet, and banana. 

As of this writing, The Cake Boutique machine only exists in El Paso. For now, canned cake enthusiasts outside the Lone Star State can order online for nationwide shipping. 

Don't forget about New Jersey

The Cake Boutique may be the only U.S. business to serve up canned cake, but non-canned slices can be found in vending machines in other parts of the country. In New Jersey, Carlo's Bakery owner Buddy Valastro of "Cake Boss" fame has set up digital cake machines at the Jon Bon Jovi Service Area in South Amboy and the Thomas Edison Service Area in Woodbridge for weary commuters in need of a sweet treat. checked out the scene at the Jon Bon Jovi stop, noting the options of chocolate, red velvet, rainbow, black and white, and vanilla confetti. As writer Lauren Musni waited for her $10 "hefty, two-person slice," she was greeted by "loud Italian-style music" blasting from the speakers, along with a recording of Valastro proclaiming, "your cake is coming right up." When the slice was ready, Musni was not disappointed. She claims that the cake was "exquisitely moist, fluffy," and "melted in your mouth."