The hospitality and grace that we learned to share

During the process of our storefront and office renovation last year we put a lot of files, cookbooks, miscellaneous office supplies, and bakery tools into storage. Now that we are through the holiday season I have a chance to empty out storage and go through all of these things exactly like Caroline would have, which is to say I absolutely must touch and read every single piece of paper that we put into storage.

My Mom was like many of yours, I'm sure, in that she never threw away anything. File folders are filled with post-it notes, tear outs from magazines, and endless amounts of scratch paper with multiple ideas intertwining with each other on both sides. There are carbon copies of order slips from the early days when we operated out of the basement as well as long outdated catalogs of fun retail items that we carried along the way.

One particularly sentimental folder I went through had a note from Mom with a summary of the history of Caroline's Cakes up to that point. I thought it would be fun for you all to read it, so I have copied it below. Enjoy!

"I am constantly asked how I started my business. My background is in design, but food has always been a major player in my life. Growing up in the South, life revolved around entertaining. My mother was constantly entertaining my father's customers and there seemed to be weekly cookouts on our terrace or dinners with friends. There were the 'Family Night Dinners' at the church when everyone contributed their best dishes. You always knew who brought the best Deviled Eggs, the best Fried Chicken and, of course, the best Cakes. Food brought us all together, in happy times and in sad. It was the core of our lives-the hospitality and the grace that we learned to share.

I first served the Caramel Cake eighteen years ago at my youngest son's christening. I served two Caramel Cakes from an old Southern family recipe for dessert and people started asking for more. I found someone near my childhood home to bake my cakes with our special recipe and we started shipping them up to the Washington Metro area four times a year-Christmas, Valentine's, Easter and Thanksgiving.

Well, the word got out and before long we were bringing 120 up at a time in the air-conditioned cab of one of my father's tractor trailers. I would meet them late afternoon at a preplanned spot off the Washington, D.C. Beltway. We would load the cakes into my car and everyone who knew the drill would arrive at my home to pick up their Cakes. The power of word-of-mouth spread this incredible tasty treat across the country and before I knew it I was shipping to every state in the union. WOW!!

My baker became ill and I almost stopped the business. But so many people kept calling to order my Caramel Cake that I started making the cake myself. It was a rough start. Caramel is so difficult to perfect. I can remember days it would take me 1 1/2 hours to get the icing to stay on the cake. I was so determined to make it work and through great perseverance I finally conquered and owned the process.

Now we are making cakes daily and shipping them to all parts of the country. Some of you have even taken them to Europe as gifts. We all shared so much through these last 18 years and the friendships have brought so much richness to my life. I have been told of Mothers, Grandmothers, Great Aunts and family cooks who have made Caramel Cakes similar to ours, and all those memories have flooded back. You, in turn, have shared them with me. Through this delicious Caramel Cake, I have shared in your family gatherings, weddings and family reunions. I have even been told on several occasions it was the only thing a loved one would eat the last days they were living. How privileged I feel to have shared so much with so many.

As we continue to 'make the world a smaller place' with the Caramel Cake, I hope you will check back soon and often to try our other food items and enjoy the unique gift items we will be offering. Thanks for your continuing interest and support these last 18 years.

Caroline Ragsdale Reutter" 




  • Many years ago when my parents were still alive they started having us stop at your beautiful bakery, my mother adored the cakes as did all of my family. Mother has been gone many years and the tradition of enjoying these lovely cakes has carried over. I ordered cakes for family in Albuquerque New Mexico to further this tradition through the years. What beautiful moments these cakes make for families for many to come. Thank you.

    Sherri Hoskins
  • Richard, I can remember stopping by to see you in Annapolis every time I went home to Fredericksburg, Va to see my mom. She always asked for your Coconut Cloud cake when she was alive. She used to make me a caramel cake very much like your mom’s for my birthday every year until she just could not stand long enough to perfect the caramel any longer. That is when we started ordering YOUR caramel cake instead! 😁😁😁. I always felt a special bond with you, because our daughter went to Foxcroft, your sister school!
    Your mom would be so proud of you for carrying on her baby and touched by you sharing her notes.
    We miss you & your store in Annapolis. 😞
    Thanks, Richard

    Susan Wilford
    Oxford, MD

    Susan Wilford
  • I can remember seeing your Annapolis home kitchen full of cakes and another time going to the garage to get a cake out of the freezer on the honor system. I also remember your Dad manning the Caroline’s cake booth at the National Cathedral, Flower Mart. It has truly been a family business with all of us benefiting from your Mother’s vision and energy. She would be so proud of you.

    Lynn H
  • The coconut cake is amazing!

    Mary Dunmoyer
  • I’ve sent several cakes and cake bite boxes to friends & family. My NYC based MIL loves Caroline’s Cakes. I finally had 2 cakes, the Caramel and the WONDERFUL Sweet Potato Cake sent with CakeBites to my house for Christmas as the Family visited me! My sweet little grandchildren loved sharing CakeBites with new friends.
    I’d never tasted Caroline’s Cakes until Christmas 2022! WOW!
    Now, I’ve an especial request for me and my dear MIL: could you make your delicious cakes SMALLER? Neither of us have big freezers as we have both downsized (we are both widows). I KNOW it is a crazy request but other people have also wanted to know if you could downsize your cakes. Please consider. CakeBites just aren’t the equivalent when grown ups come for tea! Thanks for your cakes, Caroline’s inspiration and your time.


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