Wondering what the fuck a cake baker is doing in an arts magazine? Charlie Dunmire’s cakes are art. From her Georgetown bakery, Deep Sea Sugar and Salt, Dunmire and staff bake more than 150 cakes and 500 cupcakes every week, and each one is as picture-perfect as it is delicious.
The lemon cake—with a tart citrus bite that will tickle your parotids—is decorated with dollops of yellow frosting that have been pulled towards the center with the back of a spoon to recreate lovely little gerbera daisy petals. The s’mores and key lime cakes wear a cap of puffy, fluffy meringue with peaks reaching out and just begging to be plucked with a finger. The cupcakes are prettier than your average cupcake, too. Wavy ridges of frosting or ganache are carefully piped across the top like the pattern on a Joy Division T-shirt, but with sprinkles.
In September, Deep Sea will leave the little green storefront that’s been the bakery’s home for the past five years and move on down the road to a bigger space on Airport Way, where Dunmire and Co. can accommodate a larger menu, dine-in, and, on their new patio, dogs. This is good news for Deep Sea’s curious and cute shop dog, Duckie.
Deep Sea is moving! The new space looks so big and shiny and exciting. People will be able to eat their cake there, at the shop, which I’ve missed since you shifted to being takeout-only in 2020. How else will this new space expand Deep Sea’s offerings?
Our new spot on Airport Way will have a pick-up window for pre-orders, two patios for year-round outdoor seating (it’s really for the dogs though—please bring all the dogs), and a pretty extensive drink menu. We will be utilizing all 16 taps that are already built into the space, so beer, wine, cold brew coffee, kombucha, cider. As far as cake goes, I’m hoping to bring back our breakfast cakes as a permanent weekend staple. Maybe we’ll add our new Munchies Cake to the permanent menu, too.
I’m sorry, breakfast cakes? What is a breakfast cake?
Pre-pandemic, I made breakfast cakes just about every Sunday at the shop. It’s our ricotta olive oil cake stuffed with fresh fruit, housemade nut butters, sweet cheeses, or really anything I can find that sounds delicious. They’re made either as a single serving in a cupcake tray, or as big rounds cut into slices. I like to add a thick pat of butter on mine, while it’s still warm. Some people might try to call them muffins, but those people would be wrong. Breakfast cakes!
Your cakes have been a part of so many celebrations and life events. People serve them at baby showers and weddings. I saw on Instagram someone got a cake and used it to propose marriage? What is the most surprising moment or event a Deep Sea cake has been a part of?
That proposal was so special. I think we’ve actually made two or three proposal cakes. The first one, they came into the shop and found it behind the case after we opened early for them. So sweet to be part of that. I love it! The divorce cakes come through now and then. I’m always a little surprised, but also silently cheering them on for making moves, and happy we can help make those big life moments a little sweeter.
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Last, and most important question: How’s Duckie?
Duckie is so good. The novelty of our new kittens has worn off for her, and now it’s funny to watch her get irritated with their shenanigans. She’s a great big sister! I’ll tell her you said hello.
Get cake by the slice at Deep Sea Sugar and Salt every Thursday-Sunday 11 am-6 pm. You can also order full cakes or slices for pick-up at deepseasugarandsalt.com. Follow the shop on Instagram at @deepseasugar for updates about their upcoming move.