Clarke Glendenning

Clarke Glendenning: Meredith’s Sweet Setter

  • Name: Clarke Glendenning
  • Age: 26
  • Organization: Volleyball, Meredith College

Author: Patrick Kinas, creator.

Bump. Preheat. Set. Bake.

Welcome to the life of Meredith College volleyball player Clarke Glendenning.

While most college athletes are delicately allocating time between practices, training, term papers and exams, Glendenning also stirs in an additional ingredient. She’s folded a baking hobby into a sweet flourishing business as the owner of Clarke’s Custom Cupcakes.

Glendenning, 21, is a rising senior for head coach Fiona Barkley’s Division III Angels squad, participating in the USA South Conference. She was an integral setter on Meredith’s 14-13 team this past season, ranking second in assists (282), third in aces (27) and first in baked goods.

Sports and baking have gone pretty much hand-in-hand for the Cary native Glendenning. Since she was a young girl, Clarke spent afternoons on the Reedy Creek Middle School volleyball court, where she attended her first volleyball camp in fifth grade. Then Glendenning would spend her weekends cooking and baking with her CPA-licensed mom, grandmother and sister.

“I learned the most from my mom,” Glendenning said. “I’ve taught myself a lot, but I did take a cake decorating class at a local craft store.”

From there, Glendenning’s passion for volleyball and baking rose like a perfect souffle. By the time Glendenning reached Cary High School, where her father Kurt is the head football coach and a member of the Cary High Hall of Fame, Glendenning began carving out her own athletic path. She played club volleyball in the Triangle, then was a 2nd-team all-conference setter for the Imps before taking her trade to Meredith College.

It was during Glendenning’s freshman year on the Meredith campus where her hobby morphed into entrepreneurship.

Glendenning had baked dozens of times for friends and family, and the response was beyond the typical gratuities that a family would shower. These compliments were beyond genuine, and the requests for more of Glendenning’s baked goodies poured in. Those requests begat others from outside Glendenning’s family circle.

“They all loved them so much, they kept requesting,” Glendenning said. “It was mainly from word of mouth, but it turned into a lot of orders!”

Those orders turned Glendenning into a budding businesswoman. Clarke’s Custom Cupcakes was born.

So in between working toward an Art Education major on an academic scholarship, countless hours on the court with the volleyball team, Glendenning is now running a small business out of her parent’s house in Cary. The endeavor is a one-person effort, featuring the staple of cupcakes, but also pies, cakes and other desserts. Glendenning can do small orders up to a 250-cupcake order for weddings. She’s already booked treats for three additional weddings this summer, and is utilizing not just word-of-mouth, but also using her business savvy thanks to social media. Clarke’s Custom Cupcakes has a delicious website ( with dozens of pictures, a Twitter account and Facebook page. Glendenning can be as traditional or creative as the customer warrants, but her most unusual request was churning out cupcakes adorned with Muppet faces. Anything to satisfy a customer, and stretch her decorative skills.

Glendenning is poised for future success, sharpening her business mind with some Economics electives at Meredith, and is starting the process of her certification needed to run a commercial kitchen. The near-term goal is becoming a full-time teacher, with owning her own bakery a longer-term dream.

When her final volleyball season begins for the Angels in September, Glendenning’s teammates may turn to her to provide the victory spoils, for the days of Glendenning’s morsels on the Meredith campus are waning. For this 21 year old Meredith senior, the Triangle is about to become her delectable domain.

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