"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.

This cake is one of 10 sweet creations in celebration of O's 10th birthday.
Servings: Serves 16–20
  • 2 pieces of fresh ginger (each 4 inches long), peeled and grated
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter , softened
  • 3 3/4 cups and 3 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 2/3 cups Steen's 100% pure cane syrup (available at steensyrup.com)
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil or peanut oil
  • 1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. hot sauce , such as Crystal
  • 4 large egg whites , at room temperature
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
Note: Browning the meringue requires a blowtorch; alternatively, leave off the meringue and serve with butter pecan ice cream or extra cane syrup.

To make cake: Combine ginger and 1 1/3 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and strain ginger through sieve, pressing with a spoon; discard pulp and let ginger water cool.

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 10-inch Bundt pan (without nonstick lining) with butter. Dust pan with 3 tablespoons flour, tapping out excess.

Whisk together 3 3/4 cups flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pepper in bowl.

Combine 1 1/3 cups cane syrup, oil, brown sugar, and ginger water in the bowl of a standing mixer; whisk with a handheld whisk until blended. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Add hot sauce and flour mixture; attach bowl to a mixer with paddle attachment; beat on low speed until batter is smooth, about 1 1/2 minutes, scraping bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Let cake cool on wire rack 10 minutes; then unmold cake onto rack. With a thin wooden skewer, poke holes in top of cake about 1 inch apart. Brush cake with 1/3 cup cane syrup. Let cool.

To make meringue: In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, beat egg whites, salt, and 1/4 cup sugar on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.

Combine remaining 3/4 cup sugar and 1/3 cup water in small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, swirling pan occasionally to dissolve sugar. Cook until syrup is dark amber, about 10 minutes. Stir in corn syrup; mixture will bubble vigorously. Cook, without stirring, until syrup is 240° on a digital thermometer.

With mixer on low speed, pour syrup into egg white mixture; don't let syrup touch whisk. Increase speed to high and beat until meringue is thick enough to spread, about 2 minutes. While meringue is still warm, spread over cake with a large spatula, making peaks and swirls. With a crème brûlée torch, brown meringue. Serve at room temperature.


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