I have been trying to replicate a texture of some cupcakes I had from a fabulous bakery. They were very white, so I'm guessing just egg whites were used. They were dense, moist, and had a tight crumb with no air holes. I bought several flavors from this bakery, and they all had the same texture. When you cut a small section out, the crumbs didn't stick on the knife. I know they are from scratch, and I have already tried 20 scratch and doctored recipes. They were either dry or so rich, that the crumbs stuck to knife as I cut out a section.
I need to know how to read a scratch recipe. Do I want baking soda or powder? These ingredients vary immensely between the recipes I've tried. Some have a lot of baking powder and some list both. Also oil verse butter? I know butter tastes better, but all the standard cakes recipes with butter were dry for me. Do I want even amounts of flour and sugar, or more flour? How about sour cream, milk, half and half, etc? I know this is a lot of questions, but if I could look at recipe and know it's not what I'm looking for, it would save me a lot of baking time and ingredient money. Thanks!!!
There's a book called the Cake Bible. The lady who wrote it is a chemist and a pastry chef, and she explains all the hows and whys of baking. It's a fabulous book! She goes over everything!
I second The Cake Bible recommendation. Another good one is Shirley Corriher's Cookwise. She also has one out for baking called Bakewise.
Pick up the book How Baking Works for by Paula Figoni. It was a recommended when I attended culinary school. I own it and use it as a reference guide when baking. Amazon has the best price.
Another book that talks about the science of cooking in general is On Food And Cooking by Harold McGee.