I grew up enjoying biscuits with cane syrup, but I never knew about Cane Syrup Cake until fairly recently. My grandparents ate cane syrup and biscuits for breakfast almost every day of their lives. The difference in the taste between cane syrup and maple syrup is vast. Both are sweet, but that’s where the similarities end. Cane syrup has a much more robust flavor and appearance. It can best be described as hearty syrup.
I well remember sitting at my grandparents table watching my grandmother pour warm cane syrup into a bowl and mix in softened butter. Then she would instruct me to “sop it up” with her fresh hot biscuits. As I was doing some research on cane syrup, I came across several recipes for Cane Syrup Cake - a dish that is at least 100 years old with Cajun origins. I adapted the one below from an old article in the Times Picayune.
Gateau de Sirop: Louisiana Cane Syrup Cake
1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup of pure cane syrup, (recommend Steen’s*)
1/3 cup boiling water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 8 by 4 in loaf pan with cooking spray. In a large bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In a separate bowl (it will need to be big enough to mix in the flour mixture), combine the shortening, sugar, syrup and boiling water and stir to blend. Add in egg and whisk to combine.
Stir in flour mixture a little at a time to the shortening mixture. Mix until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted through the center of the cake.
Allow cake to cool before turning it out to prevent it from sticking to the sides. Dust the top with powdered sugar.
Slice and serve while still warm with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream and a drizzle of cane syrup.
Note: Steen’s syrup is available at www.steensyrup.com.