Citrusgirl, I am so glad you liked the cake!!! I have yet to find a cake from Gourmet Magazine or Gourmet.com that I have not liked. The carrot cake (which I also posted) from them is out of this world.
About your question, I never ever tweak a cake recipe b/c its measurements and just anything that you bake has to be so precise with the ingredients and measurements, besides I did it once and it was a disaster.
I do look for a couple of things that have to catch my eye for example when I select a recipe to try. First, for a yellow cake, for me it has to have about 1 c. butter. Recipes that are 1/2 cup of 2/3 just don't taste buttery enough for me. The flour, well I prefer those that are made with cake flour b/c the crumb is more tender; and that the recipe uses less than 3 c. otherwise the cake is heavy. Also, it has to call for milk, which I use whole milk, this also tenderizes the cake. Too many eggs can make a cake more compact like a pound cake. I use large eggs. The vanilla of course, real vanilla extract - no imitation. All the ingredients at room temp. and the dry ingredients sifted twice before measuring. Also, no matter what recipe, I fold in the dry ingredients by hand not with the mixer. The oven 325 for me always ( I use 3 inch deep pans). I have done a lot of reading here and there where I have learned these tricks, as well as by trial and error. By no means are these the ones everyone has to use, but these are the ones that work for me. I am not a professional baker, I wish I was, but just tips from someone that has been baking cakes for over 20 years. I hope these have helped you some. If some of these are not part of the recipe, I just don't even consider making it. It all depends on what you are doing. For pound cake, cheesecake, flan, etc. I have different criteria I go by.
I hope I have not confused you. I tend to ramble on.
Anyway, if I can help with anything else just let me know.
Enjoy your cake!!!!