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Downtown store owner crafts confections creations
Cupcake Diva sells gourmet goodies on the square
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Trained chef Terry Link sells a steady stream of cupcakes at her downtown Gainesville antiques shop, The Jeweled Attic.

Cupcake Diva gourmet cupcakes

When: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday

Where: The Jeweled Attic, 110 Main St., Gainesville

More info: www.cupcakediva.org

Sometimes you feel the need for something sweet, and sometimes you find it.

“The square didn’t have a cupcake place and that’s all the rage now, so I thought, ‘Why don’t I make it a good cupcake place?’” said Terry Link, owner and chef behind Cupcake Diva, a gourmet cupcake shop inside The Jeweled Attic on Main Street.

The colorful case of Link’s confections is at the forefront of The Jeweled Attic, of which she is the owner and operator.

Link’s gourmet cupcake creations, which differ from their nongourmet counterparts in two key aspects, come in a constantly changing roster of flavors. The menu includes hot fudge sundae, tropical island, Southern peach and triple chocolate torte.

“Gourmet cupcakes are a little bit bigger than the average cupcake that you buy, and it’s all fresh ingredients,” Link said. “I use European butter and Belgian chocolates, so they are really good.”

All of Link’s cupcakes have a special filling. The Southern peach flavor comes with pineapple cheesecake filling, for example, and the chocolate salted caramel variety is made with caramel filling.

Link keeps the confections as locally made as possible. She buys her ingredients from the Gainesville farmers market, except the special butter and chocolate. She goes the extra mile to procure those ingredients for the additional element they bring to her line of Cupcake Diva desserts.

“You take the butter from (the United States), say (a store-brand) butter, and you put it in the pan, and there’s so much water in it that it splatters,” Link said. “You take a piece of European butter, put it in the pan, and that doesn’t happen. It’s creamier. It just has a better texture. It gives (the cupcake) a better, more intense butter flavor.”

A native of Heidelberg, Germany, Link’s family came to the United States in 1958. She has been in the restaurant business since 1985. Her previous establishments include Tea Time on the Gainesville square, The Beef Baron in Banks County and a German restaurant in Helen that Link ran for “21 years, seven days a week.”

But the grueling nature of restaurant work took its toll. Therefore, Link decided to take a break and rent Tea Time’s previous location at 110 Main St. to Scott’s on the Square.

“When Scott moved back (to Bradford Street), I decided it was time to come back out of retirement and open up the place again,” Link said.

Link was not anxious to return to the all-day hustle and bustle of a restaurant, so cupcakes were the perfect solution.

“(Cupcakes are) different,” Link said. “(With cupcakes) you can express yourself, you can decorate them, you can make them look pretty. I did this for fun, just to see how it could go, and it’s going very well.”

Link makes the cupcakes fresh every morning and is at a point in her career when she can guess almost exactly how many she will sell during the day. Since her roster of flavors is always changing based on customer suggestions or her own ideas, no single cupcake stands out as a bestseller.

Cassie Fagin, an employee of Riley Clay Designs in the Main Street Market on Main Street, enjoys Link’s creations for their homemade flavor.

“(The cupcakes) are all homemade from scratch and everything, and they’re really good, very moist and everything,” Fagin said. “The icing (Link) makes by hand, and it’s really good too.”

They remind her of another local cupcake favorite.

“They’re really similar to (Truelove Celebrations on Cleveland Highway), but they have that homemade taste,” Fagin said. “They’re really good.”

Link also changes flavors with the seasons. She is planning a new flavor specifically for fall.

“I’m going to have a ghost cupcake, so it will look like Casper the Ghost, hopefully,” Link said. “The caramel apple (flavor) is already our fall cupcake because it just lends itself. The pumpkin praline (flavor) is also a fall one.”

While Link always welcomes visitors to her store, she hopes an influx of interest in the Gainesville square will continue as new crowds are attracted to downtown.