The Depressed Cake Shop

Lemon meringue landscape-1

Time to announce the 2013 Cakehead Loves charity project… The Depressed Cake Shop, a unique pop up cake shop where every single cake on sale will be grey, colour only revealed on the inside. Opening in London on the 2nd – 4th August, there are also lots of other pop up events taking place in the UK. We’re currently looking for even more bakers to raise funds and anyone who may be interested in hosting a similar cake shop anywhere in the World!


One in four people will suffer from mental illness at some point in their lives – The Depressed Cake shop will provide a unique platform on which to raise awareness of and discuss mental health issues (with a focus on depression), whilst at the same time raising valuable funds for a mental health charity.  It will open up discussion about mental illness, and engage people with the issues that stems from this disease, making sure people DO talk about the issues.


The symptoms of depression can be complex – and vary widely – and so will our cakes. But as a general rule, if you are depressed, you feel sad, hopeless and lose interest in things you used to enjoy. The professional and hobby bakers contributing work to this event will be creating cakes that visually represent this… For example barely decorated cakes or cookies will communicate how depression can affect your ability to work, the grey & dull consistent color 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.

Many of our cakes will also be made by those with personal experiences of depression, using baking as a way of expressing their struggles with, and experiences of, the illness.  Through seeking sponsorship we also aim to hold a series of baking therapy sessions around the UK, and set up a support network for those who use baking to help combat depression.


The shop will be open in London from the 2nd – 4th August 2013, with other events also taking part around the UK.  Anyone wishing to join in with the project should join the depressed cake group on Facebook or contact



LONDON: to be hosted at Suzzle, 47 Brick Lane, London E1 6PU – 2nd / 3rd / 4th August, opening times TBC

DERBY:  a stand at the Summer Food and Craft Festival, Broomfield Hall, Morley, DE7 6DN – 4th August, opening times 10am – 4pm

GLASGOW: details comming soon, contact @matzoballed for details

SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA): details comming soon

CARDIFF: details comming soon, contact @@welshpipstar for details

LIVERPOOL: details comming soon, contact @ellashton for details

BIRMINGHM: details comming soon

SOUTHEND / ESSEX: details comming soon

BERKSHIRE: details comming soon

LEEDS: details comming soon

101 thoughts on “The Depressed Cake Shop

  1. I love this. May I also suggest a colorful outside and a grey, heavy inside. That was my experience. The world saw an apparently happy, well adjusted person — at least in the beginning — but inside was lifeless, dull, and heavy. So much so that even the most trivial tasks became insurmountable.

    1. Hi Bruce, thanks for taking the time to comment. With my PR head just wanted to reply and explain to you personally that the stregth in this concept is that the cakes are grey – or it would be like any other cake shop at first glance and not be ‘news’. There is no story or USP if you like. We need media engagement, as media engagement means we raise the awareness of the project and make the most money possible for charity. So I am sorry but the **all cakes must be grey coloured in appearence** rule is not up for discussion. Hope you will still consider being involved in some way?

      1. I just wanted to support Bruce H’s idea as a really good one. Perhaps a cupcake which is grey but with really bright frosting on top, so from one angle it looks like everything is ok, but then from another angle it’s clear that isn’t the case. The ‘grey’ theme persists, and also portrays the concept that sometimes depression is hiding under a facade. This has also been my personal experience. I hardly think this takes away from the PR message, and think it in fact promotes it rather nicely.

      2. Hello, I hear the ‘grey cake’ is non negotiable, and just wanted to check, one image shows and the copy says the cakes are grey on outside and colourful in centre. I hope this is not the case. I agree completely with Bruce H, this was also my experience. So please consider making the cakes grey throughout. Thanks.

      3. Hi Sim

        The outside of the cakes being grey is non negotiable – it is up to individual cake makers on the other details such as the colour of the sponge or buttercream filling…

        Thanks for taking the time to post!

        Miss Cakehead

    2. I think maybe we should look at this way – a grey looking cake stall represents how life feels when you are depressed, life in greyscale, nothing looking appealing, even though it’s cake. I can’t quite get the right words to explain it but that’s how I see the concept working. The bright insides of the cake is like the hope and understanding we are trying to bring.

    3. And this is true for so many, even some who are not depressed but still show their face, behind a mask to most people, even sometimes their friends.

  2. what a brilliant idea! I too felt like Bruce H, but I see the point in them being gray. Hopefully you’ll come up Manchester way 🙂

    1. I definitely am agreeing here with the idea that a shop should be set up in Manchester- I’d love to help out! -Being both a sufferer of depression and someone who enjoys baking, this is right up my alley.

  3. the grey cake is inspired. of course you’re right – if they look normal on the outside, then what’s the USP, but also, this is about raising awareness of depression. Hiding it inside is the problem isn’t it? Plus, for us depressives, it isn’t as simple as saying everything’s ok on the outside as well as the inside. my experience is that when the inside’s going to pieces the outside follows…

  4. I love your concept , Im in Exeter so if you ever want to pop up down in sunny Devon , im willing to help you 🙂 x

  5. Brilliant idea, I love the fact these cakes are dull & lifeless on the outside & bursting with colour on the inside, you could have all sorts of fun with this such as: rainbow sponge cake, fluorescent bright sponge cake, pink, green, blue, purple, red, yellow, orange, variations of shades and colours, it is just brilliant what you can real on the inside!

  6. Really interesting idea – is there a list of venues about? (Followed the link from the Guardian which seemed to have a few more details). I’m in Derby and it’s possible I could contribute something…

  7. Wow. I LOVE this. I’m an avid baker with a messed up head who often finds solace in whipping up a batch of cupcakes. Will request to join the FB group. Fabulous. Definitely want to be involved in any way I can. Just brilliant.

  8. This deserves to be super successful, such a brilliant idea. Are any support links being with the mental health charity Mind? Would be very keen to help out in London, though I don’t have facebook – are there any other contact methods? Bestest wishes x

  9. I’m definitely up for helping with a Manchester bake. I get the whole baking-as-therapy thing, I bake a LOT.
    And I have black/grey food colouring!

  10. I started a baking blog when I was absolutely wretched (although not diagnosed with actual depression)… now that things are looking up I don’t post on it so regularly but I totally support this project – it sounds brilliant! Is there any way I can get involved from Cambridge?

  11. Having endured bi-polar disorder for a number of years, might cakes with two shades of grey or grey and black be considered to represent this condition, possibly with the “ying/yang” type symbol?

  12. Grey is beautiful! – Didn’t you know?! – all colours need to pass through the grey spectrum, to arrive at their most radiant – It’s perfect: So there’s nothing more to do and nothing more to want : )

    We also make cakes and pastries for Pop-Up events here at Bakespot. We’re a social enterprise and most of our staff have a history with mental illness. So of course, they know that the inherent beauty of grey, is only a small but crucial part of their brilliance.

    Ian – (part of the Bakespot team)

  13. I have suffered with depression for over three years and have recently had to resign from my job because of it. Cake baking has always been my therapy and whilst early stages due to the limitations of my illness I am trying to turn my cake making into a business. How can I get involved in the birmingham area? I would love to make some cakes for this

    1. Hi we have been offered a space in Birmingham but still waiting for someone to want to come forward and run the shop – let me know if you are interested. I know lots of others would join you

  14. Please let me know about the Birmingham Cake shop and if there is anything I can do to help, Lord knows cake has been one of the biggest helps over the years for me. I’d love to be involved, this is a great idea.

  15. I work for Mind in Middlesbrough, we would love to have a depressed cake shop where we are!! We have a great community hall that would be perfect for a venue! I love this idea! The people who use our services would love it too!

  16. Hi,
    I saw the Depressed Cake shop mentioned in a guardian article and really love the idea behind what you are doing! I will certainly try and pop along to the pop up shop here in London when its open 🙂

  17. Hello from Canada. I read the Guardian article online and I am intrigued. Last year I was the victim of a workplace bully, and baking has played a part in dealing with my job loss. Any plans to cross the pond? I am in Montreal. I don’t want to be an organizer, but I would support any endeavor that gets going locally. thanks in advance

    1. +1 to this question. I live in the US (just outside of Washington DC) and would love to take part too. I would love to know if there are any plans for a pop-up shop over here. Thanks so much!

  18. I’d love to know more about setting something up on the South Coast, it’s a fantastic idea and I know a few people who would want to be involved. How do I find out more? x

  19. I think it’s a great idea! Could be pushed even further to express other mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, dissociative identity disorder…

  20. Nice idea, a sideways look and opportunity to open debate about a taboo/stigma subject. Well done!

  21. Just wanted to say how much I love this idea! I would love to be involved somehow, has anyone inquired about anything in Edinburgh? If there are any plans I would love to help out 🙂

  22. Reblogged this on Through the Looking Glass and commented:
    I have so much love for this, removing stigmas and making it easier to explain depression. Depression is grey, yet underneath there’s a whole beautiful, colourful personality waiting to come out. More things like this to raise awareness need to happen.

    1. I know but the more people point it out the more I am determined to leave it – we all have our flaws, spelling is one of mine. Let’s focus on things like depression not an extra ‘m’! Cheers x

  23. Hi!

    Suffering with the depression as a symptom from another mental health issue, I am aware just how ‘grey’ things can appear. Mundane tasks can be an overload on the mind and the world can appear a dull grey place to live in. However, there is so much colour on the inside, just waiting to get out. I think this is one of the most fantastic ideas I have seen in recent years to make depression clearer. Especially to people who do not suffer from it, or comment negatively about it! I’m all in! I am visiting London this weekend and notice you are having your awareness grey cake shop at Suzzle in Brick Lane E1. Have there been any times confirmed yet? If so I would be obliged if someone could supply the details.

    1. LONDON: to be hosted at Suzzle, 47 Brick Lane, London E1 6PU – 2nd / 3rd / 4th August, opening hours – 11- 4 on Friday, 12-6 on Saturday, 11-6 on Sunday

      Thanks for the kind words

  24. Pingback: Bonne pâte !
  25. I love this idea so much. Raising awareness about mental health is so important, especially to combat the abundance of negative images promoted in popular culture over the years.

  26. I absolutely love this idea! I have not stopped thinking about it since yesterday! I am a cake decorator and a psychology major. I love baking for people when they are sad or depressed or just when I want them to know that I care. I come from a family whose has suffered with mental illness for generations and i am determined to break the cycle. I love the idea of raising awareness of mental illness while also soothing symptoms of depression/anxiety by using these sweet and creative treats! I know lots of people who would support this idea too. How can I help raise awareness?
    Happy Heather

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