Poppy Seed Angel Food Cake with Açai Sorbet and Berries!

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

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.

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.

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

Fold in the orange zest using the whip attachment.

Sift 1/4 of the flour over the meringue.

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

Add the poppy seeds and fold in.

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.

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

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

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!