Originally Posted by cloetzu
i tried the Cooks Illastrated cake - unfortunately I didn't like it ... didn't find it to be fluffy at all compared to a box mix, and you could really taste the baking powder, also was very sweet... too much so actually.
i also tried the hershey cake - good taste but too too moist... maybe it just needed a few more minutes in the oven...
haven't tried the WASC but it's next on my list....
You are a beginner in both making scratch recipes and your taste buds adapting to something made without that chemical taste.
I suspect that you did not taste the baking powder, because this is not too much for this recipe, but you tasted the tang of the buttermilk instead. And did you use cake flour?
Not only are the ingredients important, but the process by which you make the cake is just as important. you will get different results by using the creaming method, the reverse creaming, the two- stage and the whip the egg white method like the recipe is here.
Did you weigh your ingredients? If not you will inconsistent results every time. And there is way more to mixing a scratch than most recipes state. The recipe may say cream butter and sugar til light and fluffy, but how long does that take? Longer than you think.
Start by getting a couple of good books from your library - Bakewise or Cookwise by Shirley Corriher are real good ones. For the two stage method get The Cake Bible. Cook's illustrated has a book called Baking Illustrated. Cakelove is another good book. Basically you should just read any book on baking you can get from your local library and research, research, research. After you have exhausted your local library go to the next town or book stores. I think I was a good six solid months of research and testing before I perfected my scratch baking mixing skills. I'm not surprised that you didn't like these because your skills and taste buds are not there yet.
And each of these mixing methods produces a different cake. IMO creaming method produces the lightest and fluffiest cake, and is has been validated in my research too. This method for the yellow cake recipe is not the creaming method. Search the Internet under cake mixing methods and be prepared to spend the afternoon reading. There is a lot out there.
I feel like Yoda right now. I didn't mean to be a master teacher, I just want to encourage you keep at it and expect those failures. But keep going and one day the heavens will open and angels will sing the second you put that perfect piece of cake in your mouth.