When a death occurs, loved ones often go through an emotional progression that Elisabeth Kubler-Ross calls “The 5 Stages of Grief.” These are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Judy, a cake decorator at Happyland Bakery, recently lost Reilly, her hamster, to Hamster Cancer. We can clearly see the 5 Stages reflected in her work.

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April 05, 2013

Stage 1: Denial

Judy is in denial about Reilly’s death, as she puts small hamsters on cake orders without the authorization of the customers.


This prompted a meeting with Judy’s boss Phil, who politely asked Judy to stop “putting goddamn hamsters on cakes.” Banana with caramel and vanilla frosting.

Stage 2: Anger

angry cake2

A birthday cake made for Bobby Tolk’s 6th birthday. We see Judy’s feelings of anger over the loss of Reilly. The cake screams “Why me?! It’s not fair!” Butterscotch frosting with chocolate fudge cake.

angry cake 3

A cake done for the Kivowitzes' 33rd wedding anniversary. Here, Judy blames Reilly for leaving her, and acts out by “guilting” the dead hamster. The heart was made of strawberry, buttercream, and misplaced rage.

 fuck you cake

It’s essential to remain detached and nonjudgmental when dealing with a person experiencing anger from grief. The filling was moist and delicious.


Stage 3: Bargaining


Bargaining is the third stage of grief. Here, Judy tries to make a deal with Reilly to re-animate himself from death. In exchange, she will offer him his favorite food. Clearly, Judy has not come to grips with the reality of Reilly's death. Carrot cake filling with a vanilla icing.

Stage 4: Depression


A cake made for Brittany Anderson’s bachelorette party. Here, Judy begins to understand the certainty of death, and wonders how she will go on. Blueberry frosting with a white cake. The cake was returned.


sad cake pop

A depressed cake pop. Vanilla with vanilla frosting.

Stage 5: Acceptance

RIP cake

The final stage of grief: Acceptance.  Judy understands the finality of Reilly's death, and can move forward with her life. A cake made for Lizzy Edelstein’s 10th birthday. Chocolate fudge with raspberry. Judy was also fired.