I recently had the pleasure of a short stay at The Mission Inn Hotel and Spa in Riverside, California. Built in the nineteenth century (never as an actual mission, as the name suggests) and standing like its own castle community, it makes for a gorgeous getaway, complete with fine dining. I didn’t get a chance to sample any of the restaurants, but I did sneak into Casey’s Cupcakes and Cappuccinos. Casey Reinhardt uses her grandmother’s recipe to make “a treat so perfect you almost don’t want to eat it. But of course you will.” Cupcakes aren’t what you normally think of as exquisite, yet walking into Casey’s, you do feel you’re in a special place. From the pink bistro tables outside to the white chandelier hanging from the ceiling, the rhinestoned logo shirts for sale to the display cases themselves. A hint at old-fashioned, seasoned with lots of pink, both pale and bright shades, creates a look that’s girly without being easily dismissable.
Oh, strange of days, I didn’t feel like getting the Decadent Dark Chocolate cupcake, going instead with the lighter-looking Marvelous Milk Chocolate. Other tempting (although non-chocolate) flavors include Scrumptious Cinnamon Sugar and Blissful Banana. If I visit again, I’ll make it a point to try a hot chocolate or cappuccino, as well, but for now, let’s look at the cupcake.
Though they come with a $3.50 price tag, let me explain why I find this perfectly reasonable. Casey’s cupcakes are desserts, not just bland cake with average frosting and a pretty design on top. How much is a dessert at the average sit-down restaurant? Five dollars? That’s for something incredibly cheap whose only merit is the wonder of eating sugar.
But Casey’s. First you have the lovely location and shop, complete with the outside seating. The box is simple in its style, folding out to double as a plate. Inside the folds like flower petals is the cupcake. It, too, is simple. It doesn’t try to dazzle with intricate designs, staying rather with shaved milk chocolate and a disc of dark chocolate. And did I mention the forks? Not plastic, but wood, set with the Casey’s logo.
As you start digging in, you find how thick the frosting is. Its depth equals that of the cupcake above the liner. But no waste of space is this. This frosting has substance, while still being airy and smooth; it’s sugary sweet in the right way. The cake is vanilla, tasting fresh and with just the right texture. Those bits of milk chocolate are very light, with a soft and silvery nutty taste. Their addition to the whole is small, but I did opt for the lighter chocolate experience, after all.
Can I ever eat a regular cupcake after this? It’s the best I’ve had, for all that I didn’t choose deep chocolate decadence. Though too far from my own abode, Casey’s is conveniently placed. The Mission Inn is a popular wedding site, both for services and receptions, and those cupcakes are good enough to make a welcome part of wedding menus. There is also a room available at Casey’s for parties, and a Casey’s Spa Parties service offered in conjunction with Kelly’s Spa at the Inn.
Thus I must call these cupcakes… exquisite.