Poppy Seed Angel Food Cake with Açai Sorbet and Berries!

Poppy Seed Angel Food Cake with Açai Sorbet and Berries | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Last weekend I partnered with Cooks of Crocus Hill and Kare11 news to promote the Go Red For Woman Campaign. A wonderful organization committed to wiping out heart disease. I know it seems an odd message from a pastry chef, but actually I practice what I preach. I may not always bake or eat low fat meals, but I keep my portions to a reasonable size. And, as some of you know I’ve been dragging myself to kettlebell class. (Yes, despite the complaining I am getting stronger!)

I will never eliminate butter from my diet, but it isn’t always a necessity in making an outstanding dessert. This poppy seed angel food cake is 100% fat free. Not only that, it is full of egg whites which have lots of protein. I paired the cakes with Açai sorbet and a berry soup, both high in antioxidants and other vitamins. Seriously, this is nearly health food. Okay, I know there is still sugar and cake flour. I baked them in muffin tins so a single recipe makes up to 36 servings. Absolutely delicious and gorgeous, you’ll never miss the fat and you’ll be satisfied. If you are on a heart healthy diet you should not be made to suffer, nor should you give up dessert. For other Heart Healthy Desserts check out my Chocolate Poached Pears, English Breakfast Angel Food, Saffron Scented Pannacotta, Chocolate Biscotti and I’ll continue to come up with others.

(This brightly colored garnish is dried Dragon Fruit, which I found at Trader Joe’s. I have to admit that it is an acquired taste, one that I have yet to acquire! 😉 but I couldn’t resist the fabulous color. A bright red tuile would be a lovely and tasty substitute!)

Poppy Seed Angel Food Cake by Zoë

1 cup sifted cake flour (sift the flour into the measuring cup and then level)

1/3 cup C&H superfine sugar (if you can’t find this at the grocery store make it by putting granulated sugar in your food processor for 1 minute. Granulated sugar is too heavy and will weigh down your egg whites while mixing!) Also known as Caster sugar.

1 1/2 cups (about 10 large) egg whites

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon cold water

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon orange flower water (optional)

1 cup C&H superfine sugar

2 tablespoons orange zest

2 tablespoons poppy seeds

Açai sorbet

2 1/2 cups Açai Pulp Puree or juice

1/2 cup water

1 cup granulated sugar

1 lemon, juiced

Berry Soup

3 pints fresh or frozen berries

1/2 cup Açai Pulp Puree or juice

sugar to taste

dried dragon fruit or Tuile for Garnish

Beating egg whites until foamy | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Preheat oven 350°F Fills either a Angel Food Cake Pan with Feet or 36 Muffin pan. Do NOT grease the pans!

Sift the cake flour, 1/3 cup superfine sugar and salt 3 times; set aside.

Beat the egg whites on low until just foamy. Add the cream of tartar, lemon juice, cold water, vanilla extract and orange blossom water. Increase speed to medium and whip until soft peaks.

Adding sugar to egg whites | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Turn the speed down to low and slowly sprinkle the sugar over the egg whites. Continue to mix until medium peaks. You don’t want them to be too stiff or they won’t expand in the oven as well.

Whipped meringue | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

The meringue should be shiny and have a droopy “Dairy Queen” top when the whip is pulled out.

Folding orange zest into meringue | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Fold in the orange zest using the whip attachment.

Sifting flour into meringue | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Sift 1/4 of the flour over the meringue.

Folding flour into meringue | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Using the whip, fold the flour into the meringue. Repeat 3 more times with the rest of the flour.

Adding poppy seed to meringue | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Add the poppy seeds and fold in.

Piping angel food pastry dough into muffin tin | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip with the batter and fill each muffin cup half way. Or pour all the batter into a tube pan. Run a knife around the batter to make sure there are no air pockets.

Piping angel food pastry dough into muffin tin | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Bake them for 15 minutes if using muffin tins or about 45 minutes in a tube pan.

Cooling angel food cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Invert the cake to cool. If you don’t do this step the cakes can collapse.

Cooling angel food cake | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

Once cool run a knife around the edge and the cakes will pop out.

To make the sorbet:

Combine the water and sugar together in a sauce pan and bring to a boil until the sugar is melted. Let cool.

Stir together the Açai juice, cooled sugar syrup and juice of the lemon. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Put in freezer for about an hour before serving to allow to get very firm.

To make the berry soup:

In a sauce pan bring the berries and açai juice to a simmer. Allow to cook just until the fruit begins to release its juices. Taste for sweetness and add sugar if necessary. Cook only until the sugar dissolves and remove from heat. Serve it either warm or cold with the cakes and sorbet. Garnish with the dragon fruit or tuile!

Poppy Seed Angel Food Cake with Açai Sorbet and Berries | ZoëBakes | Photo by Zoë François

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31 thoughts to “Poppy Seed Angel Food Cake with Açai Sorbet and Berries!”

  1. What a gorgeous dessert! So beautiful. I bought that dried dragon fruit at TJ’s, too, and I was fascinated by the texture, although I, too, have yet to acquire the taste. However, I did manage to polish off the bag–I kept tasting them just to figure out whether I liked them or not.

  2. Stunning colors! I love this one. I’ve seen the dragon fruit at TJ’s, but had no idea what to do with it, but it is pretty, isn’t it?

  3. Gorgeous. I’m not a big fan of dragonfruit, either, but there is no denying how striking it is! And I think more people should make berry soup. Go, Zoe!

  4. That looks yummy! I’ve never tried dragonfruit but it’s so beautiful that I’d be willing to try to acquire a taste for it…if it were easier to find, that is.

  5. I discovered acai last year and my love affair has not diminished in the slightest.

    I love the idea of baking the angel food cake in muffin pans! Very cool.

  6. Wow, how beautiful! The colour is rich and alluring, and what a great idea to make angelfood with poppy seeds. This is truly an elegant recipe.

  7. What a fabulous dessert ! I wish I could make something like this..

    Thanks for your visit to my blog anyway..Given your profile, I’m very appreciated to get such a nice comment. It really boosts my ego !! 🙂

  8. Wow. I’m sure you hear this all the time but you have a real gift. It is always nice to meet people that are living life to their full potential. Thanks for visiting my blog. Now that I have seen yours I have alot of great ideas for my next adventures!

  9. Okay, I’m having a moment here. Actually several. I have just started blogging again after a 5 month hiatus, and get a lovely comment from a new face on my blog. Seeing that she blogs as well I pop over to visit her site and see the post header: Poppyseed Angel food cake. Great, I’ve just taken one out the oven. Synchronicity is my second favourite word. I scroll down and see GET ZOE’S BOOK. OMG. I’ve read about this book and how fab it is EVERYWHERE. I bake bread all the time and have just started an artisan deli in Kalk Bay, Cape Town. Zoe, thank you so much for visiting. I love making new friends, I love your site, and I love the start you have given to my day.

  10. Oh! I love the addition of the poppy seeds!

    Zoë– I have a question for you…what is the absolute LONGEST the boule dough should rise in the lidded container before being refrigerated?

    This is the third time I’ve groggily wandered downstairs in the morning to see a container of dough sitting innocently on the counter waiting to refrigerated after having been prepared 12 hours before.

    The book says five hours. Should I stick with that and be resigned to throw another batch of dough in the sink?

    Grrr it makes me mad when I do that!

  11. Hi Hayley,

    No, don’t throw it away!!!! I do this all the time. 😉 It won’t effect the dough at all in the end. Just throw it in the refrigerator and pretend it never happened.

    You can’t really get away with this with the brioche dough though. All those eggs and stuff like to be chilled!

    Enjoy your bread!


  12. Hi Brilynn,

    Yeah, the açai is expensive, but wonderful. I’ve made the same sorbet with pomegranate juice, which has a wonderful flavor and is much less expensive!

    Cheers, Zoë

  13. Thanks so much for the response, Zoë.

    That will save me much consternation in the future, because I’m certain it will happen again! : )

    Take care!

  14. Hey, Zoe,
    Looks like a delicious recipe…I am totally obsessed with Acae sorbet, although I’m lazy and just buy it from Whole Foods! I get the brand that has very little sugar, and it’s so creamy for sorbet, almost chocolately! Also, I must tell you what a fan I am of your book, and it is my favorite book to buy as a gift for friends! I can’t wait for your next book!

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