Next month I will be flying out to Los Angeles for an evening of stories and cake with the Depressed Cake Shop and This Is My Brave, Inc. to celebrate the launch of the critically important anthology Shades of blue. I will be baking for the event with all money going to continue to spread the word that mental health matters! American friends, save the date: November 19th, 8pm at Harmony Gold Theatre on Sunset Boulevard. Come for the stories, stay for the cake! All info can be found here.
I am honoured to say I have been working with the Depressed Cake Shop since January 2013 and the hard work that each and every person puts into it both astounds and amazes me. Valerie, whom I am seeing in Los Angeles, is nothing short of amazing. This lady works tirelessly non-stop and has made the cause her mission and I am proud to be working alongside her.
I wanted to share my DCS journey with you all. Back in January 2013, I saw this tweet;
I hadn’t been baking long and it was only two years after my Pudsey cake, but I really wanted to help. I was on very strong anti-depressants and even tried to end my life. Baking was the only thing that made me happy so to combine the two to raise money for mental health charities was something I was desperate to get involved in.
I tweeted back saying I wanted to make a cake for the cause. The following day I donned my apron, kneaded some black and grey icing and created a torn and cracked cake that was rainbow sponge inside. I took a scribe and carved the words “I’m Fine” on the top. How many times had I said that and not meant it?
This cake was exactly how I felt on a bad day. Cracked, torn, broken and unable to tell anyone how I really felt. Making this cake gave me the confidence to talk about my own mental health.
I sent in my picture and was amazed to see it had been used as part of the campaign and a few months later was on the Daily Mail website –
What is the origin of the Depressed Cake Shop?
In the summer of 2012 Emma Thomas, a creative director and p.r. specialist in the United Kingdom, conceived a project called the Depressed Cake Shop. One in four people will suffer from mental health issues at some point in their lives. The Depressed Cake Shop was created as a unique (and delicious) platform to raise awareness and discuss these issues while raising money for local mental health charities.
Emma’s brief was very specific — the cakes had to be grey, but could have a pop of color to symbolise hope. Her astute intuition was that this would ensure that the concept stood out from the countless charity fundraisers that take place each year.
It was very successful and garnered attention throughout the United Kingdom. It also created an active community of bakers and organizers who joined a Facebook group and were inspired to create pop-ups of their own.
Then, something magical happened. The concept did not end with that first pop-up, the bakers and organizers kept going. Shops popped up in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Glasgow, Houston, Seattle, Kuala Lumpur, Atlanta, Australia and India (just to name a few).
Many of the cakes were designed and donated by bakers who had personal experience with depression, and they used their creations to express their struggles with and experiences of their illnesses. Others were compelled to join because they had seen friends and family members suffering and wanted to be part of a solution. The committed co-conspirators who have kept the Depressed Cake Shop movement alive are continually looking for new opportunities to change the conversation around mental health one grey cake at a time.
Last year, I was interviewed by Woman’s Own magazine (as above) and I told my story about depression, baking and how the Depressed Cake Shop came at such a perfect time. If I hadn’t picked up a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon, I doubt I would be here today writing these words. I am now 18 months clear of any and all anti-depressants and life couldn’t be better. To read more about my story and why I started baking in the first place, click here.
I am very proud to be part of this and I hope to continue to raise awareness of mental health issues. Every person I have met on this journey, everyone who has shared their story is a complete star and I am so grateful to know you all. I am in debt to all at the Depressed Cake Shop. I am amazed and thrilled just how far the concept has gone!
In honour of me going stateside to meet the DCS US family, I have created a Depressed Cake Shop Fudge recipe. With it’s trademark grey exterior and a pop of colour inside, these easy treats are perfect for your pop-up! You can find the recipe here.