This is my Nana’s special fairy pie recipe, it’s actually a cake with meringue and a lot of whipped cream. It’s really rich and oh so yummy. You guys are in for a special treat today! This recipe is a HUGE tradition in our family. My grandmother (Nana) passed away 30 years ago, but we still have this cake almost every year for Christmas dinner. Some of my siblings never got the chance to meet our wonderful Nana and so this is a great way for them to feel some kind of memory or connection to her each year.
This recipe is very rich and decadent, so you don’t need very much to be satisfied. My family has this dessert on Christmas Eve but it could be enjoyed any time of the year. Nana also sometimes put whipped cream on the top and sides of the cake so that it looked like it was totally frosted. Nana also sometimes put jimmies (sprinkles) on top of the whipped cream, which made it look very festive for Christmas and other holidays.
I imagine the jimmies were her own invention since my Dad grew up in Boston and jimmies are big there. You can choose which type of nut you would prefer. My favorite is walnuts, but pecans or almonds work well too. Or you could just forget the nuts.
Tips for a successful cake:
- Bake the cakes in 8” springform pans. They are simple to remove that way.
- The cake must be baked on the 2nd to bottom rack of the oven. That makes a big difference in insuring that the cake bakes evenly and you don’t end up with cooked meringue and raw batter.
Let us know what you think of my Nana’s recipe! Do you have any good memories of foods your grandparents would make/do make for you? Share in the comments below.
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Nana’s Fairy Pie Recipe
An eggy cake with layers of meringue and cool whip. This is my favorite dessert recipe of all time, hands down. I have no idea why it’s called pie when it’s cake, but the topping is to die for.
- Prep Time: 25 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 60 minutes
- Yield: 16
- Category: Dessert
- Cuisine: Special Occasion
- 1 Cup Butter (softened)
- 2 Cups Granulated Sugar (divided)
- 6 Large Eggs (separated)
- 2 tsp Vanilla
- 1/2 Cup Milk
- 1 1/3 Cups White Flour
- 2 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/2 tsp Real Salt
- 1/2 Cup Walnuts, Pecans or Almonds
- 1 Cup Whipping Cream
- 2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8” springform pans.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter and 1 cup of the sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla and egg yolks and mix together well, scraping the sides of the bowl once.
- Mix in the milk.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Divide the batter between prepared cake pans and spread evenly across bottoms.
- In another bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until frothy. Slowly pour in the remaining cup of sugar as you beat the egg whites, beating them until stiff peaks form.
- Divide the beaten egg whites between cake pans, spreading across cake batter evenly (but not smoothing). Sprinkle both cakes evenly with sliced almonds and bake for 35-40 minutes in preheated oven.
- Remove cakes from oven and cool on wire rack.
- When cakes are cool, run a butter knife along the sides of each cake pan, loosening the meringue and cake from the sides. Remove the sides of the springforms. Place one cake on a serving dish.
- Make whipped cream by placing a metal bowl and metal whisk in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. Place the sugar in the mixing bowl then the whipping cream and mix on high for a minute or two until stiff peaks form.
- Spread whipped cream evenly over the top of the cake. Top the cream with the other cake layer.
- Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
Keywords: cake, walnuts, eggs, whipping cream