GooGoo Clusters have a deep Southern root in candy history and are filled with milk chocolate, caramel, peanuts and marshmallow nougat. The candy has a little bit of everything. They are sticky, nutty, chocolatey, marshmallowy and just plain good. If you can get your paws on these little pups, get ‘em.
East End Cupcakes is relative new to the Fore Street Portland scene and competed on Cupcake Wars. How does the cupcakes stack up? My single sample was luscious and a little cup of pleasure.
As I carried my pink cupcake box while shopping in hopes to prevent any frosting damage before consumption, there was an evident following within the community. Store owners took notice of the pink box and commented on how much they love East End Cupcakes and shared what is their favorite flavor. The majority stated they enjoyed salted caramel.
Upon entrance, my eyes immediately drew towards the pink C lighting, chalk board and pink velvet couch.
It was difficult to select just one cupcake flavor amongst a tantalizing options including Pear with Honey, Lime Cupcake with Coconut buttercream & shaved toasted coconut, Chocolate cupcake with Peanut Butter frosting, Bacon Cupcake with maple syrup frosting and Vanilla bean cupcake with Strawberry frosting. Inevitably, I chose the Chocolate Cupcake with Sea Salted Caramel buttercream.
My sea salt caramel chocolate cupcake frosting top was not unscathed after shopping Despite its less attractive looks, it was decadent. The light butter cream was not sickeningly sweet, a perfect consistency and was a nice compliment to the cake.
The fudgey chocolate cake was unbelievable and my favorite part. The only aspect missing was a touch more sea salt and it would be the perfect sea salt cupcake. In fact, I would prefer it over Lulu’s sea salt cupcake.
The first attempt at flan went so well, we knew we would make individual sized servings shortly thereafter. Goya offers individual packets of three flan for a few dollars, but it is much more satisfying to make flan at home.
The simplicity of ingredients, egg, condensed milk, evaporated milk and caramel yields a lightly sweet custard. This time we used a bit less sugar for the caramel and omitted vanilla and the individual flans turned out just as creamy and luscious.
Adapted from AllRecipes
- 1 and 1/2 cup white sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt sugar until liquefied and golden in color. Carefully pour hot syrup into a 9 inch round glass baking dish, turning the dish to evenly coat the bottom and sides. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat eggs. Beat in condensed milk and evaporated milk until smooth. Pour egg mixture into baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil.
- Bake in preheated oven 45 (for ramekins) and 60 minutes (for large flan). Let cool completely.
- To serve, carefully invert on serving plate with edges when completely cool.
After making a batch of cocoa brownies, I used the other half of the batter for salted caramel brownies. Inspired by Lulu’s Sweet Shoppe’s salted caramel cupcakes, I made a pot of caramel to add an additional layer of complexity. Laced within and on top of the fudgey chocolate brownie are flecks of salt and the sweetness of the dense caramel sauce. I even prefer the sticky sweet top and the salty sweet combination. The additional sauce yields an even nicer, more satisfying bite.
Little adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
After prepping the cocoa brownies recipe, pour about half into the prepared pan and spread into the corners. Spoon dollops of the Salted Caramel Sauce on top of the brownie batter. With a dull butter knife, gently run it through the batter to swirl the batter just a bit (don’t do it too much or it will all mix together). After the brownie is baked, add additional caramel sauce on top and let cool.
Salted Caramel Sauce
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/3 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the sugar over medium-high heat, whisking as the sugar begins to melt. Some of the sugar will harden into clumps, just keep whisking. Continue to cook the sugar until it reaches a dark amber color. At that point, whisk in the salt, and then add the butter all at once and whisk until it is completely incorporated into the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and pour in the heavy cream (it will foam up when first added). Continue to whisk until it forms a smooth sauce. The leftover sauce can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.