Sunday is my Mom’s birthday and, for the very first time, I won’t be spending it with her. Growing up, I would always asked ask my Mom how old she was. She would answer 31. Then the next year, I would ask again. And again, she would say she was turning 31. So one year on her birthday, Kevin, a friend of the family, was over and my Mom wouldn’t tell him her age.

Kevin: Jessie, let me ax (yes ax, not ask) you a question. How old is your Mama?

Me: (I of course knew the answer since I had asked her the exact same question earlier that day.)  31.

Kevin: …….. 

Me: …what?

Kevin: How old are you?

Me: 18

Kevin: And your Mama is 31?

Me: Ya…

Kevin: Well somebody here is lying. You ain’t 18 or you’re Mama ain’t 31. Which is it?


I had been telling people for YEARS that my Mom was 31. YEARS. And at the age of 18, I finally realized why people would get saucer sized eyes when I told them how old my Mom was. Oh…you know…because that would have meant she had me at like 12. Whoopsie. I’m obviously not the brightest bulb in the box and my loving mother took full advantage of that. In my defense, women try to stay 29 or 39…you never hear of anyone staying 31!

So in keeping with tradition, Happy 31st Birthday Mama! I love you!

I have a downright obsession with Cinnamon, so it should come as no surprise that I found an excuse to use it in another cake form. Thanks to my compulsive shopping at Trader Joe’s in Nashville, I also had a ginormous bag of candied ginger to use. So what better way to combine the two?  I also had to use this adorable Chicago Metallic mini 3 tiered cake pan to make an actual birthday cake! Cupcakes say party…but tiered cakes say PARTY!

This particular cake recipe is my go to vanilla cupcake recipe…while it may have applesauce and cinnamon in it, neither are strong enough to really be the star. The cupcakes stay moist and have that perfect texture that I look for in a cupcake…and more importantly, they go well with just about any frosting you can come up with. I topped the Cinnamon Scented Vanilla Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting and some chopped Candied Ginger. All together, it makes one hell of a flavorful bite!

Cinnamon Scented Vanilla Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting & Candied Ginger

These Cinnamon Scented Vanilla Cupcakes are truly the perfect cupcake. They are spongy, moist, and a perfect base for Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting and Candied Ginger!

Recipe Note: Candied Ginger is also known as Crystallized Ginger


  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • a healthy pinch of allspice
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 oz (1/2 cup) natural applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk


  • 3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger


Cinnamon Scented Vanilla Cupcakes:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.

In a medium size bowl combine dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, ginger, salt, allspice, baking powder, and baking soda). Set aside.

In stand mixer, on low, mix eggs, sugar, applesauce, vanilla extract, and vegetable oil.

Carefully alternate dry ingredients (flour mixture) and buttermilk, mixing until fully combined.

Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 15-17 minutes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting and Candied Ginger:
Cream the butter and cream cheese together in a large bowl. Add the sugar, one cup at a time, beating well between each addition.

Stir in the cinnamon and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Beat the mixture well, until light and fluffy.

Using a piping bag or a large spoon, spread a generous amount of frosting onto the tops of each cupcake.

Place the chopped candied ginger in a small bowl and press each cupcake, top down, into the candied ginger.

TNCB original recipe