We have loved Rachel Ryle for so long, and we were unbelievably honored when she offered to create one of her hand drawn animations for Depressed Cake Shop and Mental Health Awareness Month.
In case this is the first time you have discovered Rachel, there is a wonderful article about her here. Just click this link to read about her in Entrepreneur Magazine
May is Mental Health Month and Depressed Cake Shop is partnering with Skull & Cakebones in Austin for a month of workshops, gorgeous and delicious vegan treats and special merchandise, all to benefit NAMI Austin.
JEAN SCHAPOWAL - Cakes With Character, Long Island, NY
Saturday, October 7th - 11:00am - 5:00pm
Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center - Atrium
269 - 01 76 Avenue
Queens, NY 11040
Proceeds to benefit: Zucker Hillside Hospital
AMY FISCHER QUINN - Lake Placid, NY
Sunday, October 1st - 11:30pm
Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk
Lake Placid Olympic Speed Skating Oval
Main Street, Lake Placid
Proceeds to benefit: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
ERIN SCHWARTZ - Stacked Cakes, Richmond, VA
Stacked Cake Studio
Saturday, October 7th - 10:00am-3:00pm
Proceeds to benefit: NAMI Northern Virginia
SAMANTHA BROWN DEAN - Tanta’s Treats, Alabama
Proceeds to benefit:
VALERIE VANGALDER / BABY BEA’S BAKESHOP - Beverly Hills, CA
Baby Bea’s Bakeshop
311 S. Robertson Blvd.
Saturday, October 7th -
Proceeds to benefit: NAMI Los Angeles & The JED Foundation
PAUL REDMOND - Purple Feather Cake Design - Dublin, Ireland
Proceeds to benefit:
NATHASJA FLAPPER - Flappergasted Cakes - Netherlands
Proceeds to benefit:
CATHY HILL - Celebration Cakes - UK
Proceeds to benefit:
LIZ FOX - BuBakes - UK
Proceeds to benefit:
MEGAN MILNE & REBECCA DICKSON - New Zealand
Proceeds to benefit:
SITI RADIAH - Piece of Cake - Kuching, Malaysia
Proceeds to benefit:
Laura set up Mindful Bakes as she has a passion for baking and creating. After a bout of depression Laura found baking to be her savior, a way to channel her energies into feeding her family and doing something productive. Baking had a clear end-product and a methodical approach to creating. Using your hands to knead and cut is very therapeutic. Laura uses her friends and family and testers and hasn’t had a complaint yet!
Through baking and creating together Laura has found that her daughters will chat to her about all things related to school and friendship problems,
Her young daughters have developed a growing interest in her hobby turned career and Laura has found it to be hugely beneficial in teaching mathematical skills, reading, patience, creativity and enhancing the bond between parents and child without the need for television or smart phones. Laura teaches her children to budget for ingredients whilst shopping, they learn whereabouts their food has come from, be it home grown, organically produced or reared locally. Laura tried to recycle packaging where appropriate thus reducing the impact on the environment and teaches her children to reduce waste.
Baking can teach children the importance of hygiene and health and safety and the fundamental importance of eating a healthy balanced diet.
Laura’s eldest child is now a very eager cook and likes to create her own recipes and help with dinner parties!
Mindful Bakes aims to use freshly grown local produce. Their apples came from across Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and even east Sussex! Mindful Bakes tries to reduce waste by using people’s unwanted damsons, sloe berries, apples, pears, pumpkins and plums. In the winter Mindful Bakes produced game pies from pheasant, partridge and venison from local farms.
Mindful bakes aim to bring people together via cake and inadvertently people start chatting and hopefully this may involve discussions surrounding mental health.
They host regular ‘crumbs and chatter’ open days in the village. #oneconversationatatime #onecrumbatatime. Such events have increased Laura’s confidence in her social skills as well as enabling her to meet new people in a rural location. They also deliver cakes and bakes to local businesses who may not be able to access the local shops easily such as retirement homes and businesses in rural locations. Mindful Bakes endeavors to meet every client’s needs. They accept commissions and can provide gluten free, vegan, sugar free and dairy free cakes and bakes.
Laura studied Occupational Therapy so knows only too well about the importance of baking as a form of therapy. She has worked with special needs children and young adults for over fifteen years in various settings. Laura is keen to take Mindful Bakes into local primary schools as part of their Emotional Literacy and Social Support programme (ELSA) and to enable children to enable children to feel supported and listened to whilst undertaking a fun, therapeutic and educational activity.
ELSA helped Laura’s eldest daughter aged six when she had a mental breakdown by reducing her anxiety and allowing her some ‘time out’ of the structured curriculum to immerse herself in something fun and relaxing as well as learning a new skill.
She was able to understand that it is ‘okay to not be okay’ and that there will always be people to listen to her, support her and share their experiences.
Many children are exposed to the stresses of modern day life and are not equipped with the coping mechanisms at such a young age on how to deal with them. It is important to start discussing mental health in a positive light before not becomes destructive at a later age. Mental health need not be scary and intimidating and Mindful Bakes wishes to herald the importance of incorporating baking into the education system as a way of discussing mental health.
Mindful Bakes Cookery school sessions will last up to one hour including preparation time. All ingredients and materials will be provided, and children get to take home their creations! Laura will also be offering these sessions after school and during the school holidays in her own home for a maximum of five children at a time. Laura has a certificate in food hygiene and the relevant insurance. Please get in touch for times, dates and prices.
We also thought we would let Laura tell you about Mindful Bakes in her own words:
”I am absolutely passionate about working with children; teaching them new skills and educating them to eat healthfully, be mindful of what they are putting in their bodies and also where their food has come from. I want children to be mindful of how they feel when they’re baking, they’re not focusing on the latest television programme or tapping away on mobile phones or playstations. Baking requires your full concentration and effort so there is not much room for anything else. All the anxiety and distracting thoughts have to be put aside whilst you create your masterpiece. It also doesn’t need to be a masterpiece at all, cooking is subjective so there is no right or wrong, it is a learning process and if at first you don’t succeed you try, try again!
I am also passionate about being creative and artistic and I think that can be incorporated into cooking. I am not great at icing cakes and I do not place a huge emphasis on the final look of a product not the taste but i think it’s the process that went into creating that bake that is important. How did it make you feel? Did you enjoy it? What was challenging? What could you have done differently?
I set up my cookery school in February 2017 and invited children of all ages through my front door to bake with me, creating both sweet and savoury bakes. I ran 4 sessions a day at 75 minutes each from 10am till 4pm and we were pretty fully booked every half term. During term time i would invite ore school children through my doors and offer the same sessions.
‘Where there is cake there is hope.’ The Depressed Cake Shop introduced the ‘grey cake’ movement in London in 2013. It is now headquartered in Los Angeles. Grey cakes symbolise the world of someone who is affected by mental health problems, where the ‘black dog’ of anxiety and depression can feel overwhelming, colouring their experience of life.’
As part of World Mental Health day Laura held a bake sale in her local village hall after school to raise money for the Royals charity, Heads Together. This wonderful charity raises awareness of mental health issues and support children and young people, teaching them that it’s ‘okay not to be okay’. As you can see from the photos all the bakes were grey to symbolise the struggle people have with depression. We are so proud to say that she raised a whopping £107 in an hour! Last year they raised £380 for the charity Mind and i hope to raise money for mental health charities every year. Mindful Bakes is very dedicated to supporting children to maintain a healthy attitude towards metal health and be mindful of how they feel on an everyday basis. Laura personally found baking to be my savior after a bout of depression and anxiety and it continues to be a great therapeutic tool for her
This May for Mental Health Month, NAMI Austin has organized a special treat. Eight bakeries across Austin will be featuring Gray Baked Goods to spread awareness and raise money for mental health programs at NAMI Austin.
"In recent months I have been unable to devote as much time as I would like to Depressed Cake Shop. In this regard the project has become a victim of its own success. Finding this refuge, this safe area of expression, has enabled me to externalize my insecurities and doubts in a way that no other therapy to date could. Finding and sharing with others my inner most demons has proved that everyone has their demons and together can can module through to find answers, or at least further questions to ask. I still have up days and down days, but now I know I can thrive, and I know what to thank for that: Depressed Cake Shop."Read More
Meet Andrea Latona, our newest co-conspirator!Read More
We have had this blog for a while and I have not done much blogging on it. In fact, until this week I have not blogged at all. But, as I often do, today I woke up early and was chatting with a few of the incredible women I have met through Depressed Cake Shop. At the end of the day, this project is as much about friendship as it is about anything, and the friendships that have grown because of the DCS are just beautiful to witness and to be a part of, and today I want to celebrate that. I do not have the time or space to talk about all of the beautiful women this work has brought into my life, but I want to highlight a few.
The first thing I did was start to look through photos of the past few years. There are hundreds and hundreds of pictures of women and cakes -- and a lot of men too, to be fair, but today is about the women.
" Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love." -- Mother Teresa
Our tribe is strong. The women who surround us lift us up with love and courage, but there is one man that must have special mention here today. I have continued with the DCS all these years in honor of my dad who was my hero. He battled with his mental health his entire life. He often won. He was an incredible husband and father, a loyal friend, and the most generous man I have ever met. He loved to inspire people with quotes, so here are a few that I think he would have liked to kick off this photo gallery.
"Where there is cake there is hope, and there is always cake." -- Dean Koontz
"Wear your scars like stardust." -- Amy Ferris
"She stood in the storm and when the wind did not blow her way, she adjusted her sails." -- Elizabeth Edwards
Last May Nanea Hoffman and Jessica Hancock of "Sweatpants and Coffee" drove down to Los Angeles to present us with the first batch of "Anxiety Blobs," the soft and cuddly creations that were born on S&C as a cartoon manifestation of Nanea's anxiety. We were so honored that Nanea allowed us to share the very first Blobs with DCS customers, and our ongoing partnership with S&C is one of the sweetest gift DCS has brought into my life.
The lovely Liz of Bu Bakes allowed a crew into her home so she could talk about her experiences with baking and how she found Depressed Cake Shop.
These 1 in 4 cookies (representing the 1 in 4 people who will experience a mental health issue in their lives), were donated by a wonderful woman named Angela for the shop we popped up in Pittsburgh to celebrate the opening of "Mindful," a six month exhibit at the Society for Contemporary Craft. She had been following our Facebook page, and contacted us about contributing to the shop. In addition to these cookies she created the logo cookies that adorn the front page of this site.
Thinking about Angela reminds me that Kara Andretta of Kara's Couture Cakes and Jeanne Winslow of Jeanne Winslow Cake Design drove down that day to man the shop with us. Here is a cake Jeanne created to celebrate DCS first birthday in August of 2014.
The glorious Britt Wyatt of "She Who Bakes" fame taught a class where we learned to make tiny cakes and sandwiches out of sugar paste. I made a bitty DCS inspired picnic. A perfect day.
From my heart to yours, wishing you a Happy International Women's Day! Stay tuned for more news from DCS, and make sure you check out the upcoming pop ups listed on our site.
We're thrilled to announce a new partnership that will bring Depressed Cake Shop's resources in front of The Mighty's wide-reaching readership. Depressed Cake Shop will now have a growing home page on The Mighty and appear on many stories on the site.
The Mighty is a story-based health community focused on improving the lives of people facing disease, disorder, mental illness and disability. More than half of Americans are facing serious health conditions or medical issues. They want more than information. They want to be inspired. The Mighty publishes real stories about real people facing real challenges.
Here are a few examples of the kinds of stories on The Mighty:
We're dedicated to helping people with mental illness in their lives. With this partnership, we'll be able to help even more people.
We encourage you to submit a story to The Mighty and make your voice heard.
Love and cake,
The co-conspirators at Depressed Cake Shop
Yoga's popularity has exponentially grown in the past decade and it is safe to say that yoga makes people happy or happier. Whether it is hot yoga, yoga on music, slow yoga, fast yoga, yoga on the beach or yoga in India, yoga works as long as you don't injure yourself. Today I will not get into how yoga affects people's bodies, rather how it affects their mind and why it can tremendously help people's mental well being.
My first yoga class was in high school on a special event day. I thought it was kind of funny and I actually don't remember much of it besides that I fell asleep in Savasana and woke up as happy as can be. Life went on until I did another yoga class. My next one was soon after I moved to Los Angeles and a few years later I became a teacher, then a few years after that, I became an advocate for Mental Health.
The secret to yoga is to try it and do it more than once. You must try many to find the right style and the right teachers. You will hear a lot of things on your quest but since today we focus mainly on the mental benefits of yoga, I can tell you with certitude that in terms of mental well- being one style isn't better than another and a teacher isn't better than another. It's about what's best for you. Everyone has an opinion according to what works for them and it does not mean it will nor should work for you. Yoga is highly customizable and as long as it makes someone happy I don't care if it is naked yoga or yoga on a surf board with your dog.
So, why does yoga make people so happy?
Yoga means "to unite". It's the union of you. It's creating a healthy connection between the mind and body using the breath and then eventually creating a healthy connection between you and the world around you.
Many mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety are extremely isolating and make people who suffer feel out of touch not only with the world, but with their own body, and unable to control let alone stop those thoughts that push their mind deeper into the illness.
I'm not claiming that yoga cures mental illness but it can help manage it. The idea behind yoga is to experience the body in order to control the mind and stop the out of control spiraling thoughts before one falls too deep in mental despair.
Once you have found a style and teachers that you like and have been practicing regularly (I said regularly not excessively), you will become more aware of your body, how it responds to certain poses on certain days and most importantly how your mind responds to it all. Slowly, using your breath you will be able to control the constant fluctuation of the mind throughout a class and eventually throughout your day.
I believe that happiness is when your body and mind are in the state of equilibrium. Don't make happiness a goal or define it by perfection because perfection does not exist. Your body will experience aches and pains and your mind will always experience some ups and downs. What yoga does is it helps you manage and achieve balance so you can prevent physical injuries, and mental melt downs. Happiness is not an achievement but a journey and yoga can be part of that journey.
If you are still nervous about attending a yoga class here are a few things you can do at home to make your first class a bit easier. You can also do this when you don't have time to go to a class.
Yoga Tips to Try on your Own
Pranayama techniques are beneficial in treating a range of stress related disorder. It improves the autonomic functions and It reduces the signs of oxidative stress in the body. Practicing pranayama can assist in steady mind, strong will power and sound judgement.
- Sit comfortably on the floor, pillow cross legged or on a chair with your feet firmly on the floor.
- Start with 10 rounds with breathing through the left nostril and 10 rounds breathing with the right.
- Repeat as many time as you want.
1) Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Benefits: Down Dog combats anxiety and energizes the body which helps with depression.
- Lie on your stomach with your palms by the sides of your chest with your fingers well spread.
- Come onto your hands and knees.
- Turn the toes under, and exhale as you raise your buttocks high in the air, moving your thighs up and back. Keep your elbows straight as you lift your buttocks up and release the crown of your head onto the support. The action of the arms and legs serves to elongate your spine and release your head.
- Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, breathing deeply.
2) Seated Forward Bend to Plow Pose (Paschimottanasana to Halasana)
Benefits: Brings relief from despondency or anxiety, and energizes the body. Skip Plow Pose if you have neck problems.
- Sit with your legs stretched out in front of you. Take a full, deep breath. Inhale and lift up through your sternum and head, making your spine slightly concave.
- Exhale and extend your torso over your legs.
- Then, come out of the forward bend, curling your back and pulling your knees up, and then roll backward into Plow.
- Raise your hands overhead to meet your feet. If you feel neck strain, support your back with your hands.
- Go back and forth between the two poses 10 times.
3) Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
Benefits: Opens the chest, lifts the spirits, and invigorates the body.
- Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent, feet on the floor.
- Inhale, lift your pelvis slightly off the floor, and slide your hands, palms down, below your buttocks. Then rest your buttocks on the backs of your hands.
- Inhale and press your elbows firmly against the floor and lift your upper torso towards the sky. Then release your head back towards the floor.
- Stay for 15 to 30 seconds, breathing smoothly.
- With an exhalation lower your torso and head to the floor.
- Draw your thighs up into your belly and squeeze.
4) Child’s Pose (Balasana)
Benefits: Releases spinal muscles after backbends and calms your nerves.
- Kneel on the floor with your big toes touching and your knees slightly wider than your hips.
- Bend forward and stretch your arms and trunk forward.
- Rest your head on the floor or a blanket.
Out of hundreds of applications Depressed Cake Shop has been named a finalist for the BBC's best mental health project award.
Congratulations to the countless people who contributed to this achievement through organizing a shop, baking for a pop up, wearing our shirts, buying our cakes, or just being part of this community.
We love you all! Have a listen below!
We're so proud to announce our official partnership with the industry-changing, conscious clothing company, Wear Your Label. Buy a shirt before they're gone!Read More
"I was given the opportunity to do a spotlight session at a networking event today. Rather than speak about my business (BuBakes) I chose to speak about mental health. As I battle with severe anxiety, it wasn't the most polished speech - and at times I did lose my place, as the words I had written were jumping while my hands were shaking!"Read More
Seattle Pacific University's NAMI chapter hosted a very successful pop-up on campus Friday, April 29th. They almost sold out of everything and made over $800 -- "which for selling things to poor college students, is really awesome" jokes one of the organizers, Carl Sallee. "It was crowded at the table almost the whole time and we spread a lot of awareness."
Carl wrote a follow-up piece for our blog explaining what inspired him to host a pop-up:
"The NAMI club at Seattle Pacific University been around for several years now, but it has historically not had much of a voice or presence on campus. This year the club officers (Hannah Miller, Kaylyn Springer, Sarah McDermott) and myself decided that we wanted people to know that the club existed on campus and that it has been behind-the-scenes working for mental illness awareness and support for years. We wanted that work to come out from behind the scenes and in to the public eye, so what a better way than a creative bake sale?!
We were excited that this was no ordinary bake sale, but one that could educate and de-stigmatize an issue that touches everyone's lives at the same time. So when I heard about the idea and how successful it was in Capitol Hill, Seattle in the fall, I wanted to bring it to campus - where some of the most influential people our world is about to receive are being educated and trained to make a difference.
I wanted to be able to spread the word about mental illness to these people so that when they are going out in to the world, they will know it is OK to openly discuss mental illness, but it is not OK to treat people who are affected by it in a way that is less respectful, loving, or accepting than they would anyone else.
I also wanted to support NAMI and inform people about how effective and important its advocacy work and support network is as an institution. We had an amazing turnout and a blast putting it on and we hope that it can become an annual event for the future SPU NAMI clubs to organize from here on out!
Thanks for the support, Depressed Cake Shop!"
-Carl Sallee, SPU
Rachael has been integral to DCS since the very beginning and is the creator of our logo, the sad gray cupcake.
Bet you can't guess her favorite fictional character. Read here to find out!Read More
Read the rest of her Q&A below to learn her trick to making pies and more! Also, if you haven't already, read the first part here.Read More
Use your favorite scratch recipe of store bought variety. Pre-bake 1 pie shell at 375 degrees. **Works best to bake your shell straight from the freezer**
1 1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup lemon juice (about 2 large lemons)
zest of two lemons
2 Tbsp butter, unsalted
4 egg yolks
In a medium pot, combine the sugar, cornstarch, salt, water, and lemon juice. Cook over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a low boil. Add the butter. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, and gradually whisk in 1/2 of the lemon mixture. Pour the egg mixture back into the pot and continue to cook the mixture, stirring continuously, until thick. Remove from heat and pour into pre-cooked pie shell. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate to cool completely.
4 egg whites
1 1/4 cup sugar
In a small pot, combine the sugar with 1/2 cup of water. Cook until the sugar reaches 240 degrees. Be sure to wash down the sides of the pot with a wet pastry brush occasionally during cooking to prevent crystallization of the sugar. While the sugar is cooking, beat the egg whites to a soft peak using the whisk attachment. Do not overbeat. Once the sugar reaches the proper temperature, remove from the heat and slowly trickle the cooked sugar into the egg whites while it continues to mix on low-medium speed. Once all of the sugar has been added, turn the speed up to high and beat until the mixture reaches a stiff peak.
Remove chilled pie from the refrigerator and top with the cooked meringue. Spread over the entire surface, taking care to come all the way to the crust edges. Using a kitchen torch, lightly toast the surface of the meringue to your liking.
Your pie will keep 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Cover exposed pie sections with plastic wrap.