Birch, please

Applehead Studio Photography

Balancing between rustic and elegant, Cake Babe Amy Muench reveals how she made a towering birch bark dessert too beautiful to chop down.

Cake Babes founder Amy Muench doesn’t shy away from a challenge, so when she was tasked with representing an outdoors-loving couple who lives in the Peruvian jungle via dessert, she was stoked. “I knew there would be a woodland, enchanted forrest theme to the wedding, they wanted something that would reflect that but also be elegant,” says the self-taught baker who launched her business five years ago. “I live for anything out of the ordinary, it doesn’t happen quite that often though. The trend is traditional at the moment, butter cream flowers and semi-naked cakes. I live for the big projects.” And big it was. After 30 hours of work, Muench’s birch bark masterpiece took the cake at Ben and Brielle’s Lightfoot & Wolfville wedding. Here’s how she did it.

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The cake

“They wanted a big showpiece, so they wanted something tall. The bottom tier was a false tier but the top three tiers were salted caramel cake,” says Muench of her four-tiered tower, which showcased one of her oldest, most popular recipes. Each individual tier was over six inches tall and made up of four layers of cake and filling, a baking mission she started three days before the wedding.

The icing

“It’s not just baking a cake,” Muench says, “it’s edible art.” And while she’s all about the product tasting good, making it look good is the fun part. After months of testing products and molds, she settled on a method—covering the cakes’ sides in individual sheets of fondant rather than the traditional draping. She carefully pressed a mold into each inch of each icing panel before applying it to the cake, then painted and dusted the various rings, knots and indents of the “bark”—working with an array of shades and brush strokes to make it as realistic-looking as possible.

The construction

Delivered to the venue in separate pieces and delicately stacked the day of, Muench spent an hour and a half in building mode. “It was so tall I had to stand on a chair to do the finishing touches,” she says of the final product, which was garnished with a wild-looking selection of deep red ranunculus from the couple’s florist, Brown Eyed Susan’s. “It’s a long tedious process but I love it with all of my heart.”

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