• 07.09.13

These Grey Cupcakes Could Take A Bite Out Of Depression

Baking may fight depression. So one pastry chef is raising awareness for mental health through a worldwide bake sale frosted in grey icing.

These Grey Cupcakes Could Take A Bite Out Of Depression

Maybe it’s the sugar. Maybe it’s the chocolate. Maybe it’s the satisfaction that’s inherent to working with your hands. But baking seems to keep many of us sane (in fact, here are two recent books published on the topic).


In response to this seemingly unstudied trend, cupcake baker Emma Thomas, of Miss Cakehead, is organizing a worldwide bake sale to raise awareness for baking therapy, along with a little bit of dough for regional mental health projects. From August 2-4, she’s encouraging volunteers worldwide to organize The Depressed Bake Shop, a series of popup bake sales with a dramatic overtone: All the sweets will be frosted in an unappetizing grey.

“Many people say colourful, pretty-looking cakes cheer them up, so I wanted to create something which was the reverse–depressed, grey, sad-looking cakes,” Thomas tells Co.Design.

There is, of course, another interesting twist. When you bite into many of these drab baked goods (simply dyed with equal parts black and white food coloring, I’m told), your mouth will be hit with a familiar sweetness that betrays your eyes. And then when you glance back at your bite mark, you’ll see that the inside of the dessert is actually laced with bright colors.

Thomas views that vivid filling as a symbol of hope for those living with depression. It’s certainly a nice metaphor, but it’s also just clever food design: These baked goods provide multi-sensory feedback that things really can get better. They’re a deliciously literal take on that old idiom “the proof is in the pudding.”

If you’d like to take part in a pop-up shop of your own, get in touch over at Miss Cakehead.

Learn more here.

[Hat tip: The Guardian]

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started, a simple way to give back every day.