With a childhood spent frequenting church picnics, family barbecues, and dinner parties, Caroline Ragsdale Reutter understood the unifying power of food from an early age. Accustomed to preparing dishes for every occasion, it was her son Richard’s christening where she served the very first of the seven-layer caramel cakes that would become the foundation of a robust baking enterprise.
Word of the decadent confections spread as Caroline steadily increased her production to eight cakes a day. One afternoon about two decades ago, she received a phone call from the financial giant known then as U.S. Trust Corporation, where an employee who had sampled her cakes recommended them as holiday gifts. When informed the company would need a total of 2,000 cakes, she did not miss a beat before agreeing to provide them—and Caroline’s Cakes was born.