Like anything in life, baking takes practice. It takes a few tries to learn how to properly cream the butter and sugar, mix the batter the right amount of time, fold in egg whites, and bake the right temp and right amount of time.
I still am in complete disbelief that no one remembers all the "doctored" cakemix recipes from the 70's. The cakemixes then were not full of overpowering fake flavor and readily absorbed anything added to the mix. It pains me that the cake doctor lady has made a fortune off what was common knowledge. I guess there really is nothing new under the sun.
If you don't live in a city, then visit one nearby. Go to a real bakery or deli and buy cake slices. You will know the scratch cake when you make happy noises like when you're eating an Oreo blizzard on a hot summer day.