Patch sat down with the owner of Broadneck's own Caroline's Cakes, who received national acclaim this year after her famous caramel cake was featured in the 2011 feature film "The Help."
The seven-layer caramel cake was also mentioned in the December issue of Oprah Winfrey's magazine, O as one of her "favorite things."
Caroline Ragsdale Reutter's business, creating, baking and shipping cakes and confections across the nation, has spread across several buildings in a shopping center in Arnold. She's now in the planning stages to open another branch of the business outside Maryland.
Patch: Why cakes?
Reutter: "Well, I didn't start by sitting down and writing a business plan for this. This cake idea just sort of bubbled up underneath me years ago. I love hard work, and over time it all sort of grew by word of mouth. All of the sudden I woke up one day and realized, 'My god, I'm running a business.'"
Patch: What do you think has set you apart from the rest? What started the attention you received this year?
Reutter: "My caramel cake is what a lot of my clients bring back, and I think word just spread. I think that people come here, and they talk about us with their friends. I think I have old-fashioned values. I don't believe bigger is better; I believe better is better. And I believe you never settle for good. We always strive for perfect."
Patch: What items sold well over the holiday season?
Reutter: "It's our busiest time of year. You hear these phones? Well, our cheese biscuits, which we package now in ceramic gift boxes, have sold really well. People are also asking for a lot of quiche. People seemed to be calling and ordering multiple quarts of it, I guess to serve big families."
Patch: Some of the cake and cupcake decorations are ornate and detailed. You can't have time to do all of that. How do you instill that in your employees?
Reutter: "I buy people that have good spirit. We're creative, we're fun, we're silly. But we're also serious. We have certain things here that are standard Caroline designs, but I give the decorators room for creativity."
Patch: How many cakes and cupcakes does your business end up making over the course of a year?
Reutter: "I couldn't give you a number off-hand. It'd just be a number. But I think we do tens of thousands of orders a year."
Caroline's Cakes is located in the Jemal Shopping Center, at 1580 Whitehall Road, just off of Exit 29 on State Route 50. For more information, or to place an order, visit the company's website.