The Taste of Tradition: Carrying on the Family Legacy One Cake at a Time

Sep 21 2022

by Katelyn Whelan

Good food and gracious entertaining were always major ingredients in Caroline Ragsdale Reutter’s life. Fueled by the enjoyment created at her mother’s cocktail parties and family gatherings, Caroline began baking at a young age in the kitchen of her childhood home in Lake City, South Carolina. Later in life, she took her Southern techniques and perfected the craft in Annapolis, Maryland– where Caroline’s Cakes was officially born. The very first Caramel Cake was served at her son Richard’s christening in 1982, and it spurred a series of cake requests from friends, family, and others throughout the community. The freshly baked cakes would wait on the joggling board on the front porch of the Reutter’s Annapolis home awaiting pickup. Payment was placed in a Big Red Tin– the same signature Big Red Tins that now land on doorsteps nationwide.

Today, Caroline’s Cakes has grown to include more than 30 cake flavors and savory items, all handmade in our bakery and storefront located in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Caroline’s original mission still resonates: to provide a superior, traditional food product, a friendly, enjoyable work environment and a customer experience rife with 

Southern hospitality.

The most recent evolution of the company has been under the leadership of Caroline’s son, Richard Reutter, who has been charged with carrying on his family’s legacy– within the bakery and beyond. When making decisions– about new recipes, the work environment, or opening the new storefront in Spartanburg– he does so with his Mom in mind. “To know Caroline’s Cakes is to have known Caroline,” says Richard. “Her kindness and Southern grace is present in everything that we do and in every cake that we bake.”


Richard and his team continue to innovate their offerings–whether it be a new product or a new partnership– and participate in their cake community while always circling back to the foundation of the company: tradition. Often drawing inspiration from Caroline’s cookbook–spilling over with handwritten recipe cards and dog-eared pages– the traditional Southern recipes, and Caroline’s hospitable spirit, remain at the forefront.

And so, in an era of change, it is comforting to harken back to those things that remind us of our roots– Mom’s cake recipe, Grandma’s cheese biscuits, and the myriad memories of celebration and togetherness that accompany those time-honored recipes. And that, friends, is the very spirit of Caroline’s Cakes.

Eat Cake. Be Happy.


Katelyn Whelan View More Blog Posts from this Author

Katelyn is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a dual degree in Marketing & Visual Communication Design. Settling in her hometown of Savannah, GA, she has spent the past 5 years building a career working with female owned small businesses. From events to retail, she has learned the art of translating ideas into action. Specializing in digital marketing, she seeks to bring the passion of her clients to life through the power of social media & e-commerce. She is the digital arm of a design firm founded with her two sisters, The Whelan Girls.

When she is not working, you can find her at the beach. She loves spending time with her family and can whip up a killer batch of chocolate chip cookies.

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