Birthday cake pie is totally the solution to all of life’s problems.
A vanilla cookie crust plus confetti cake custard plus chocolate whipped cream topped with EVEN MORE SPRINKLES.
How could it not be?!
To be clear, it definitely does NOT need to be anyone’s birthday to justify making this.
A half or quarter or even eighth birthday will do!
Or a random day in August when you’re a human in a pandemic that honestly just seems to keep getting worse and worse.
I think we can all empathize with that.
This pie comes from the eternally joy-sparking The Book On Pie by Erin McDowell and like all of the other (too many to count) pies I’ve made from this book, it dazzles in the most heart-warming way.
Reminiscent of a chess pie, it has a simple custard filling that is flavored with both vanilla and almond extracts. The combination of these two is what really gives it its birthday cake flavor, though the confetti sprinkles decorating every bite don’t hurt either.
Its encased in a vanilla cookie crust, though if you wanted to mix it up with an oreo or chocolate cookie crust I can promise that no one would be mad about it.
One thing that’s important to note is that you must must must use confetti-style (also known as quin) sprinkles for this cake.
Tiny nonpareils will melt really easily turning it into a bleeding chaotic mess of color and jimmies (or the typical stick sprinkles that we tend to think of when we think of sprinkles) won’t melt enough and are just too big to use for this pie format.
Quins, on the other hand, will melt just enough that there will be pops of color dotted throughout your pie filling but will also hold their shape on top of the pie to give it that gorgeous decorative crust. You can find quins in all sorts of shapes and sizes, ranging from the usual circle shapes to stars (what I used here) to hearts to more holiday-specific assortments.
This is the perfect pie to make to satisfy the inner child in all of us and is well suited to mark any occasion regardless of what you’re celebrating, whether it’s an actual birthday or just surviving one more week in this crazy, unpredictable world we’re all living in.
We deserve it.
- 1¾ cups (210 g) vanilla wafer cookie crumbs
- ¼ cup (50 g) sugar
- ½ tsp (2 g) fine sea salt
- 6 tbsp (85 g) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup (200 g) sugar, divided
- ⅓ cup (40 g) all purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup (235 g) heavy cream
- 4 tsp (15 g) vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- ½ tsp (2 g) fine sea salt
- ¼ tsp cream of tartar
- ⅓ cup (51 g) confetti sprinkles, plus more for finishing
- ½ cup (118 g) heavy cream
- 25 g (2 tbsp) sugar
- 2 tbsp (11 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- Stir together the crumbs, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in the butter and mix until combined. Press the crust into a 9-inch pie pan, pushing into the bottom and up the sides of the pan in an even layer.
- Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350F. Once crust is chilled, bake it for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Set aside to cool while you prepare the filling.
- Heat oven to 375F.
- In a medium bowl, whisk ½ cup (100 g) of the sugar and all of the flour together. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, heavy cream, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt. Add it to the sugar/flour mixture and whisk until well combined. Set aside.
- In a clean stand mixer bowl, combine the egg whites and the cream of tartar. Whip on medium-high speed until foamy, about 1 minute. With the mixer running, slowly pour in the remaining ½ cup (100 g) sugar. Continue to whip until medium peaks form, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add a quarter of the meringue to the egg yolk mixture and whisk gently to incorporate it. Add the remaining meringue in three additions, whisking gently to combine. Lightly fold in the sprinkles.
- Place the cooled crust on a baking sheet. Pour the custard into the pie crust. Sprinkle more sprinkles over the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until set. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until starting to thicken, about 1-2 minutes.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and cocoa powder. With the mixer running on medium-low speed, slowly pour in the sugar mixture. Continue to whip to stiff peaks. Add in the vanilla and mix to combine.
- Scoop the whipped cream into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe a star border around the edges or just spoon over individual pieces, if desired.