Why is it that something so plain, so vanilla is so difficult to master? The crusade for the perfect vanilla cupcake, we all have been looking for that perfect plain cupcake that has the perfect balance of texture, sweetness and flavor. I hate vanilla cupcakes that the texture or the density of the cake makes you think you are eating a bar of soap, I don’t know how to explain it but the heaviness of the cake just makes it unappealing. So here’s the key: I love butter, but don’t use it in the cupcake batter, remember that butter hardens and when that cupcake is cooled the cupcake will harden as well. I use oil – you can choose from anything from olive oil, nut oils or vegetable oil. I love using almond oil, but it is a bit expensive; so I save that version for special occasions. If you use extra virgin olive oil; it will turn out like an Italian pound cake, but it might be an acquired taste. I normally stick to light olive oil or canola oil and then the other important item is buttermilk for a moist spongy cake. Use 1/2 cup oil, 1/2 buttermilk and forget about the butter, save the butter for your butter cream frosting. The last key ingredient is that wonderful “White Lily” flour or if you can’t get a hold of it then use any soft white wheat flour and make sure to sift. Here are some pictures of the cupcakes I baked today; they are topped with a cocoa butter cream frosting.