It’s tough to review a cupcake parlor when you don’t like sweets, so I recruited a few members of the staff to help out with the taste-test part of my review. They were not reluctant. My husband likes chocolate, but hates cupcakes in general. This probably goes back to his childhood when some cute little blonde girl smashed a cupcake in his face – but I digress. We picked Valentine’s Day for our visit—duh. Not only the busiest day of the year for cupcake parlors, but it also just happened to be Casey’s Cupcake's grand opening in Laguna Beach. Miracle of miracles, the huge line that had been out the door all day shrank down to an eager half-dozen shortly after we arrived and we popped in to the pink parlor and grabbed a six pack of Casey’s signature favorites, including Decadent Dark Chocolate, Excellent Espresso, Vivacious Vanilla, Luscious Lemon, Sassy Strawberry, and, of course, Rockin’ Red Velvet.
My husband, a foodie who’ll try almost anything, decided to put aside his cupcake trepidation for the sake of an honest taste test. He had previously tried cupcakes by that really famous cupcake maker--you know, the one who almost always has lines out the door even when it’s not Valentine’s Day or a grand opening--and he said that, if he liked cupcakes, Casey’s Decadent Dark Chocolate would be about the best he ever had; and, Casey’s are certainly more moist and less overly-sweet than similar cupcakes by those other guys. Then he couldn’t resist saying that, after seeing Casey Reinhardt in her hot-pink mini-dress he was quite sure she was the best cupcake in the place. I reminded him that his slang is about as outdated as he is, and that Casey is young enough to be his granddaughter. For those of you who don’t already know, Casey Reinhardt is best known for her role in the 2005 season of Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County, and is the daughter of Kelly Roberts, co-owner of the Mission Inn in Riverside. (Keep reading to find out Casa Laguna’s connection.)
The remainder of our cupcake six-pack was divided up among five Casa Laguna staff members, and the decision was unanimous—Casey’s cupcakes have a smooth texture and great taste, but lack the overbearing sweetness and often artificial aftertaste of a certain competitor’s product.
So, bottom line, Laguna Beach now has a great new cupcake shop, run by a gorgeous former member of the Real Orange County cast, that should draw equally on locals, tourists, and anyone who loves sweet treats and the color pink. Oh, and by the way, Casey’s place also sells a number of products that are not part of the cupcake world, including her trademark “Kiss by Casey” lip gloss. Want to see Casey in action? She’ll be baking up a pink storm in the upcoming Cupcake Wars: Walk of Fame on February 22 on the Food Network.
And what’s the Casa Laguna connection (other than our young cupcake-loving staff)? Casey’s mom and step-dad own the Mission Inn, which was built by Frank Miller, who also built Laguna’s Rockledge Estate, of which the Casa Laguna property was a part, until parcels east of Pacific Coast Boulevard (later PCH) were sold off in the late 1920s. Whew. Ok, it’s a tenuous link to Laguna Beach’s hot new cupcake dispensary, but we’ll take what we can get. The address for Casey’s Cupcakes is 303 Broadway, Suite 108, Laguna Beach—but the shop “fronts” on Ocean Avenue and is much closer to Broadway Plaza’s south entrance.