"This cake is like the best gingerbread you've ever had," says David Guas of his gâteau de bayou, his version of a traditional spice cake from the Acadian region of his native Louisiana. Guas's recipe includes nontraditional ingredients like black pepper, fresh ginger root steeped in boiling water, and hot sauce, which "adds a little acidity as well as heat." After it is baked, the cake is soaked in Steens pure cane syrup—which tastes like a mild, smooth cousin to molasses—and then topped with a burnt-sugar meringue, browned with a blow-torch for a toasted-marshmallow effect.
Get the recipe: David Guas's Gâteau de Bayou with Toasted Salty Caramel Meringue
Plus: David Guas's expert tip on making this cake