Back in August, the Depressed Cake Shop held its first event in Los Angeles, selling bakery items to raise money and awareness for the National Alliance for Mental Illness. The doughnuts and cakes and pies and cookies are all colored gray, via the happy art of pastry decoration and a judicious use of buttercream frosting, a metaphor for the depression that affects so many of us and that is so often stigmatized. Of course, the interiors of the baked goods remain their original vibrant colors, so every time you bite into that lemon meringue pie, or your dinner guests do, you're extending the metaphor along with your sugar rush.
The next Depressed Cake Shop here in L.A. will be in a few weeks, just in time for the holidays. On the evening of Friday, Dec. 13, from 6-9 p.m. and all day Saturday, Dec. 14, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., there will be not only a lot of monochrome baked goods but also a cupcake decorating station, a mini holiday bazaar, free wine -- and a photo booth, so that you'll have pictures of yourself happily eating doughnuts later, when the sugar high is gone and you need a reminder.
All this happiness will take place at the St. Joseph Center in Venice and proceeds will benefit both the St. Joseph Center and NAMI Westside L.A. For updates, check the Depressed Cake Shop's L.A. Facebook page, as well as its holiday page. The event is free, although the desserts are not; it's hard to have a fundraiser if you don't pay for all those gray doughnuts.
The idea of bringing awareness to depression through dessert began with the U.K.'s Emma Thomas, whose London-based agency, Cakehead Loves, benefits other good causes. Dozens of Depressed Cake Shops have popped up in both Europe and the United States, with more to come. Because sometimes pastries work a whole lot better than Prozac.