Cakes look sad to raise awareness of depression

The Depressed Cake Shop is coming to London at the beginning of August.

These cake stalls will sell grey cakes in order to raise awareness of the 1 in 4 people who experience mental health difficulties. They are the brainchild of Miss Cakehead, aka Emma Thomas, PR and marketing creative,


Miss Cakehead has previously run cake stalls with cakes of gory body parts for Halloween, and with explicit sexual images to raise awareness of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

“We do a lot of things with cake”, said Miss Cakehead, “it’s a good way to engage people.” Miss Cakehead wants to get people thinking about and talking about mental health problems. “Even though mental health problems are so widespread I’m still staggered that it’s considered a taboo”, she told me. “I was talking with friends about it and thought we could create something that would help provide a platform for people to discuss it, but without turning people off. Everything must be grey. To me, a grey cake looks depressing.”

Doesn’t Miss Cakehead think grey food will turn people off eating it though? The colour of food has an affect on how people taste it. For example, orange flavoured squash that is orange in colour is identified much more reliably than orange squash which is green. Similarly green lime cordial is more reliably identified than orange coloured lime cordial. Many more studies show similar results. What would grey cakes end up tasting like?

Miss Cakehead doesn’t think the colour will put people off too much. “STDs and vagina cupcakes didn’t put people off, and we found at Halloween that the grosser the better. If it puts people off then at least they’ll start thinking about the issues but I don’t think it will. It’s an awareness campaign.”

And if people don’t like them? Miss Cakehead doesn’t mind. “It’s always appealed to me, making unappealing cakes. When we first started with the grey cakes people didn’t like it… but it’s like when people say ‘your… cupcakes leave me shocked and sickened’, I’m like, ‘lighten up it’s cake’.”

The Depressed Cake Shop is in London on August 2nd, 3rd and 4th, 2013 and at other venues around the UK and beyond from then on. More details here.

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