Acadian Syrup Cake

Ken Smith, the executive chef at Upperline restaurant and an avid home baker, often serves this spiced, cane syrup-sweetened cake. On special occasions such as Thanksgiving and Christmas he pairs it with a sauce made from satsumas, a clementine-like citrus fruit that grows in Louisiana and is available in the late fall.

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  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups dark cane syrup, preferably Steen's brand
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
  • Confectioners' sugar, for garnish


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch round metal cake pan and line bottom with buttered parchment paper. Sprinkle in a little flour; turn and tilt pan to coat the inside. Invert pan and tap out any excess flour. Set pan aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking powder, cloves, salt and pepper.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together syrup, oil, and egg.
  4. Beat in one-third of the flour mixture followed by one-third of the soda mixture into the syrup mixture; repeat twice more, to make a smooth batter.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top.
  6. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in middle of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour.
  7. Let cake cool completely in pan.
  8. Invert cake onto a plate; dust with confectioners' sugar.

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

This article was first published in Saveur magazine October 9, 2008.