A Cajun classic, this spice cake (aka Gateau au Sirop) gets much of its sweet flavor from a Southern staple, cane syrup. We love Steen's 100% Pure Cane Syrup, made in Louisiana. If you can't find pure cane syrup, don't sub a blended syrup; use honey instead. Roast the pears and make the caramel sauce while the cake cools. To dress up the cake for serving, we used a fleur-de-lis stencil to create a powdered sugar design atop this glorious dark and deeply delicious cake.
Preheat oven to 350°. Whisk together first 8 ingredients in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Whisk together syrup and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl; add to dry ingredients. Whisk until blended. Pour batter into a greased (with shortening) and floured 9-inch springform pan.
Bake at 350° for 50 to 60 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan, and cool 1 hour on wire rack. Sprinkle powdered sugar over cake, and serve warm or at room temperature with Roasted Pears, Caramel Sauce, and Spiced Whipped Cream.