The Depressed Cake Shop: Helping To Beat Depression, One Cake At A Time

"I'll have the 'Psycho Swiss Roll,' please."
Publish date:
July 8, 2013
xoFood, depression, cakes, raising awareness

As I posted last week, I'd been feeling a little off-balance lately. The feeling of impending doom has now passed, thank Christ, probably in part down to all of the helpful comments from the xoJane community, letting me know that it's totally normal to feel like that sometimes. It was good to know that I wasn't alone.

I've really learned over my year of writing for xoJane (a year! A full year!) that speaking up when things aren't great can be a real form of help. I wrote here about the death of a friend I knew online, and the reactions to the piece helped me realise that grieving the death of someone you've never actually met in real life is still a real, tangible grief. I wrote here about my illness when I didn't want to talk about it to people I knew, and the comments made me feel "normal" again. Cheesy but true, guyz.

Writing about problems here and entering into clever, funny debates about things that you wouldn't normally speak to people about in The Real World has definitely stopped my comfort eating as much, anyway. For me, feeling like shit and comfort eating go hand-in-crumb-covered hand. I'm sure at one time or another, we've all chased happiness to the bottom of a tub of Ben and Jerry's (I have, even when lactose intolerant, because that's how good Ben and Jerry's is) or thought that we'd cheer ourselves up by popping to the bakery and getting a macaroon or a cronut or whatever insane and delicious pastry creation is now in fashion.

When picturing the display in a bakery, you probably daydream of sugary sweet cupcakes with pastel icing, donuts glazed in every colour, gingerbread men with coloured piping as clothes. It's all very sweet and saccharine and lovely, if you like that sort of thing. But if that sort of thing makes your bum twitch and brings you out in hives, you're in luck, yo.

A new pop-up cake shop project is launching over the summer in the UK (and spreading to the USA too, you'll be pleased to know!), as the brainchild of PR agency Cakehead Loves. The charity project, launching on 2nd August in Brick Lane, will consist of pop-up shops that will only sell grey coloured cakes to raise awareness of mental health issues by way of providing a platform for discussion.

The jarring cake designs are a million trillion billion times removed from what we're used to sinking our fangs into -- I've certainly never seen a grey cupcake with grey frosting before -- with the idea being “The grey-scale colour scheme of the cakes is in part to represent the hopeless grey feeling of depression...barely decorated cakes or cookies will communicate how depression can affect your ability to work, the grey & dull consistent colour scheme that all fun can disappear from life. This will be a cake shop like nothing else seen before, the grey sad looking but delicious tasting cakes powerfully demonstrating the effects of depression.”

The bakers are all baking for free and donating 100% of the proceeds to various mental health charities. Many of those taking part have stories of their own to share, like many of us do, and use baking as a form of therapy.

The designs are really awesome -- the grey fortune cookies with messages inside telling you to "Pull yourself together!" and the Psycho Swiss Roll are definitely going to get people talking about an issue which is often still thought of as taboo by many, despite the fact that one in four of us will at some point experience mental health issues. Anything that opens up a wider discussion and helps people be able to talk freely about issues that are so close to many of us is a good thing in my book. And, cake.

Tweeting celebrities photos of her boobs since 2008: @Natalie_KateM