Cake Baker Volunteer

Isabella Martin

Isabella Martin is a Volunteer Cake Baker for the Hospice and as part of her A level studies she wrote a recipe book based on baking for the Charity. This was completed for the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) at Hills Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge, where she studies.

Isabella explained:

“Baking is an activity that I can do by myself or with others – which is perfect for me as a fairly introverted person. It is something that I can use to destress as well, as I often don’t have to focus very hard on what I am making (especially for my favourites!)

Baking also holds a lot of happy childhood memories with family and friends, not to mention getting delicious products afterwards.

Photo of a chocolate brownie and white tea cup

Although the book stands alone as an educational project and has now been submitted, I always intended to gift it to Arthur Rank Hospice Charity. I hope that you like it!”


How long have you been volunteering for the Charity?

I have been volunteering since January 2022. Earlier on in my volunteering journey, my friend would take the cakes I made in for me, as they were already travelling to the Hospice. This meant I couldn’t yet see the way which the Hospice worked. But as time went on I became more interested in the Hospice itself, wondering were the cakes went, how they were served, how I was helping – so I began taking the cakes in myself.

How did you get involved with the Charity or what inspired you to start volunteering?

The same family friend first brought the idea up as she herself volunteers at the Hospice, but it was actually my mum that started the journey off. I’ve always loved baking, and volunteering was an easy way to not only share with others but also keep up with baking through my A-levels.

What do you like most about volunteering?

Personally, I love being able to give back to the community, and baking is something that is such a large part of my life – I love being able to share that with other people where they can enjoy the outcome as much as I enjoyed the process.

Has anything surprised you during your volunteer journey?

I wouldn’t say anything has been particularly surprising, however I was amazed by how close the community was, with email updates, which meant despite not volunteering on the site itself I still felt greatly included.

Tell us about your baking book project 

My baking book project was for the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) – where the course essentially was based around a project of my choice.

I already had somewhat of an interest in baking, TV shows like the Great British Bake Off, Bake with Anna Olson and Nigella’s Kitchen were captivating when I was younger, and my mum often made cakes every Sunday as an end of week treat.

I would flick through the many recipe books, staring at the bright pages filled with sweet treats and other bakes. In a way I was surrounded by baking from the beginning, it was only a matter of time before I started myself.

I wanted to create this book for other people like me who want to bake to donate. Baking is a craft, especially considering how difficult it can be, but I want people to experience just how rewarding it can be.

It had occurred to me that anyone with dietary restrictions may have issues with some of the bakes, and therefore some of my project focused on that. I also wanted to include gluten free options as per the Hospice’s advice from my own volunteering. Often these modifications can be easily overlooked due to not realising there is a need for them. I also want to lessen the stigma of gluten free bakes, and show that they can be just as delicious.

Cup cakes and swiss roll recipe

As I was already interested in possibly creating my own twists on recipes, this book would be the perfect way to encompass new skills into creating an outcome that can be used by anyone, not just me.

What is your favourite thing to bake?

My favourite thing to bake is easily brownies! They’re really quick and easy, and you can add almost anything to customise them. They are a clear classic and yet I never get bored making them. (I love chocolate too, so I may be a little biased as they are also my favourite to eat!)

Chocolate brownies and Chocolate Loaf Cake recipe

The book incudes: Cupcakes, Swiss Roll, Blueberry Muffins, Jam Muffins, Banana Bread, Banana Bread Two, Chocolate Brownies, Chocolate Loaf Cake, Madeira Cake, Chocolate Marmalade Cake,  Pineapple Upside-Down Cake, Beetroot Red Velvet Cake, Lemon Drizzle Cake, Apple and Cinnamon Cake, Marble Cake, Jamaican Ginger Cake, Sticky Toffee Loaf Cake, Lemon Biscuits and Chocolate Log!

What advice would you give to someone considering volunteering with Arthur Rank Hospice Charity?

Give it a go! You never know whether you’ll like something unless you try it. Not only is the community lovely – everyone is happy to help and great to talk with, but it is rewarding, I still feel included despite not being on site.

Hannah Touhey, Voluntary Services Manager commented:

“It was a wonderful surprise to receive this project from Isabella, it really illustrates the benefit of working with our younger volunteers who bring so much enthusiasm to their time with us.”

Female baking in a kitchen at the stove