by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

Missy’s Cupcake Creations    
3900 W. Channel Islands Blvd.

It might take a moment to find Missy’s Cupcake Creations in Oxnard. Toward the back of a set of charming but somewhat decrepit waterside buildings on Fisherman’s Wharf at Channel Islands Harbor, you are likely to miss it the first drive by. But if you look in the right spot, you’ll catch a glimpse of a bright, cheerful sign out of the corner of your eye. Swing around to the parking lot (shared with HC Seafood and adjacent to the Elite Theatre Company) and follow the colorful cupcakes on the white picket fence and you’ll reach your destination: cupcake heaven.

Almost anything goes at this small cake shop. Pineapple upside-down cake, apple pie, cheesecake — if you’ve had it as a dessert, Missy has probably baked it into cupcake form. Not everything on the very extensive menu will be available every day, but trust that there will be numerous options — full-size or miniature — to tempt you.

Some seasonal selections show Missy’s flair for combining complementary flavors. Dulce de latte includes a caramel buttercream atop a coffee cake filled with a dulce de leche/coffee mixture. Cranberry Almond Delight tastes like the holidays, with tart cranberry cake mingling with a pronounced marzipan. Chocolate and mint are a classic winter pairing; Missy’s version does not skimp on the mint, which brings to mind Crème de Menthe liqueur more than the herb.

One of my favorite flavors is the Chocolate Thunder. A dark chocolate cake is filled with fudge — which would be reason enough to love it. Top with a generous dollop of buttercream and a sprinkling of chocolate shavings, and this sugary powerhouse looks as good as it tastes.

Wedding Cake is another pretty presentation, offering a swirl of raspberry puree in showy-white vanilla buttercream atop a simple white cake. I found it a little too sweet for my palate, but the touch of raspberry did add a certain appeal. Other “fruit” options include the Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry, where the berry and the cacao sing in harmony, or the cherry-filled Black Forest Delight.

Special mention has to go to the Birthday Cake with Chocolate Frosting. Simple, yes, with just a rainbow sprinkle-flecked yellow cake and a swirl of chocolate frosting, but delicious and festive nevertheless. I could eat that fudgelike buttercream by the spoonful.

With wonderfully moist cake, decadently rich frosting, fun combinations and a beautiful presentation, Missy’s Cupcake Creations are a delightful way to turn any ordinary day into a special occasion. F