A touch of black pepper is the secret ingredient in this recipe from chef Kieran Baldwin, which tops her signature Devil's Food Cake.
In a small bowl, combine 1 tablespoon sugar and salt; set aside.
Place remaining sugar in a small saucepan, along with 1/2 cup water. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Increase heat and bring to a boil; do not stir. Cook, occasionally swirling and brushing down sides of saucepan with a moistened pastry brush, until mixture registers 240 degrees on a candy thermometer, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, place egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on medium speed until frothy. With the mixer running, gradually add sugar and salt mixture.
Increase mixer speed to medium-high; slowly add hot sugar mixture, allowing it to drizzle down the sides of the bowl. Continue beating until whites are stiff and cooled, about 20 minutes. Add pepper; mix until well combined. Use icing immediately.