Depressed Cake Shop

Jun 8, 2014
Photo by Nancy Buchanan

Photo by Nancy Buchanan

Not just feeling sad, but feeling empty. Not just short-tempered and irritable, but bursting with anger over little, minor hiccups. Loss of interest. Loss of pleasure. Nights awake, hyper-alert, careening, disconnecting thoughts unable to be herded and calmed. Exhausted days. Foggy brain. Depleted energy. Immobile body.

These are some of the symptoms of depression. A mental illness. A disorder that the World Health Organization says 350 million people suffer worldwide. They also state that depression “prevents people from functioning well,” though we know of people who do manage to function and get through their day-to-day obligations and responsibilities, even while socializing and smiling, only to stagger and plunge into depression when in their own company. Mental disorders, by default, induce sufferers to carefully construct a mask for the world to see.

The Depressed Cake Shop is an all-volunteer pop-up concept, conceived by Emma Thomas (Miss Cakehead) in the U.K., selling grey-colored cakes and other baked goods with the purpose of raising awareness about mental health issues. More than 30 Depressed Cake Shops have popped up all over the world—from Scotland to San Francisco—since the first shop opened in August 2013. (

Amy Inouye of Future Studio Gallery presents “50 Shades of Cake” on Saturday, June 14th, a “Depressed Cake” exhibit of artist Nancy Buchanan’s work involving “issues of wealth and its social costs.”

Photo by Nancy Buchanan

Photo by Nancy Buchanan

Buchanan’s work—photographic prints and silkscreened prints, all in shades of grey—is an “investigation of excesses in an age of income disparity, and the juxtaposition of desire vs. repulsion.”

Why grey? Because the color represents what depression does: It coats a beautiful life in grey. Many of the Depressed Cake Shop bakers use baking as a way to battle their depression. They decorate the cupcakes, cookies, and other delicious items with designs that represent their depression and encourage discussion. Often, underneath those dark designs, is a bright pop of color inside. Because underneath that grey cloud, hope remains. (Depressed Cake Shop)

Lemon meringue; photo courtesy of Depressed Cake Shop

Lemon meringue; photo courtesy of Depressed Cake Shop

Cakes and pastries will be on sale by “a lot of talented bakers” including Pasadena’s Prospect Park Books‘s authors. Arts and crafts by Positive Visions will be on view and for sale. A no-host coffee service will be available, courtesy of the Greyhound Bar & Grill.

One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit the Northeast Wellness Center‘s Positive Visions Program. The NWC provides “clinically competent, culturally sensitive, and linguistically appropriate mental health services to clients in the least restrictive manner possible.”


Photograph by Nancy Buchanan

Photograph by Nancy Buchanan


Depressed Cake Pop-Up
Saturday, June 14th, 7-10 p.m.
Future Studio Gallery, 5558 N. Figueroa St., L.A. 90042
For more info, visit FutureStudio
Or call Amy Inouye at 323.254.4565

Photo by Nancy Buchanan

Photo by Nancy Buchanan


Images from the Miss Cakehead’s original post (read here) on July 29, 2013:

Psycho Swiss roll

Psycho Swiss roll by Miss Insomnia Tulip


"Broken fortune" cookies; photo courtesy of Depressed Cake Shop

“Broken fortune” cookies; photo courtesy of Depressed Cake Shop






Flintridge Books

Lyd and Mo Photography

Louis Jane Studios

Homage Pasadena