Does Baking Help Depression? Depressed Cake Shop Pop Up Event

CakeSpy Note: Sweeties, here's an event that I think might interest you. If you're in LA, then very cool--you can attend! But even if not, it's an interesting event to read about. All photos are via the Depressed Cake Shop Pop Up page.

Where cake meets performance art meets do-gooding...there's the Depressed Cake Shop Pop-Up.

This is a pop-up baking event dreamed up by Emma Cakehead (a version of the pop-up has already happened in the UK and San Francisco, which collectively raised more than $10,000) at which bakers will be selling grey (as in the hue and the theme) cakes and artwork to bring awareness about mental illness and benefit NAMI Westside LA, an organization that educated, supports, and advocates to improve the lives of families and those afflicted with mental illness. 

An odd pairing? Perhaps not as much as it initially might sound. Many of the bakers who have gotten involved have battled their own demons with depression. They have been quite vocal about how baking has changed their lives for the better.

Can baking help your mental state? Here are some bakers' thoughts.

"Baking has given me something to focus on, to put my energies toward when the rest of my life seems a bit crazy. It is calming and a huge positive addition, in more ways than just calories. My day job is full of numbers and when I bake I get to do the complete opposite and let my creativity free." - Alicia Hansen, owner of Ali's Cake Pops

"I bake whenever I feel like my world is spinning out of control. It centers me and forces me to focus on one thing for long enough to calm down again. Plus, it makes me happy seeing people eating things I've created. It's also good for clearing my mind when I feel blocked on photo shoot ideas." - Jaxx Victoria, baker and photographer

"Baking saved me from myself." - Zainah Ismail, baker in Cardiff, UK

"Baking has kept me from crawling up into a ball and not re emerging. I started a food blog which I love and a lolly business Holly's Lollies with a dedicated black charity lollipop. It keeps me focused and happy." - Holly Brook, and owner of Holly's Lollies

"I bake primarily to relieve stress. The attention to detail needed (especially in the decorating) gets me out of my head. As a bonus the joy it brings to others (when I give away my creations) lifts my heart." - Laura Makey, baker and woman in charge of San Diego pop-up.

"t was just something I started to do so I wasn't doing nothing. Beating things in a bowl is exactly the right combination of mindless and distracting, and the decorating was a skill to practice. When you have to get the icing right on the next batch, you look forward to something. Then there's always cake to eat at the end." - Amy Conkerton, baker in Birmingham, UK

"Baking gave me identity, hope and I became proud of me. I learnt how to be happy. No one can take that away from me." - Allison Henry, baker in London

"It gives me an opportunity to follow lists and instructions and lose myself in detail already set out by someone more experienced, which I find comforting in my loneliness. I love to share the results with friends and family too; there's something very heartwarming about feeding loved ones." - Vicky Cooper, baker in London

"Through baking, and the feedback I received, I felt confident enough in my skills to go ahead with my dream of opening my own cafe. Now I have my own business that fits in with my family life, rather than shift work that was so difficult for us all." - Nell Watkins, baker in the UK

"Making cakes allows me to put the devil in the detail instead of keeping it inside." - Mi Tulip, baker in London

How can you attend? Here are the details:

Date: August 23+24
Location: Buckwild Gallery, 12804 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, CA (very close to Venice, CA)

Not content to be a bystander? Here's how you can get involved.

Be added to the guest list here.
Join the fan page here.
To donate work or become a baker, email Rebecca Swanner at or comment on the Facebook wall.