I love to bake and I am often being told that I am "an awesome baker" based of some recipes that I have done. The problem is that none of my recipes have actually been my own from scratch. I have done a lot of doctoring up box mixes and using other people's recipes I find in cookbooks or online. So, my latest challenge to myself is to come up with my own vanilla cake recipe from scratch. I have tried two times with very different results. Attempt one was using baking science ratios that called for high ratio shortening. Trouble was that I did not have high ration shortening and I substituted Crisco and that did not give me the desired result. After mixing it seemed as though the crisco just didn't blend properly. It didn't look like a smooth batter. The final product I got was a very heavy and wet cake. It actually tasted really good and reminded me more of a homemade super moist pound cake. I may use the recipe in a loaf pan next time. So, back to the drawing board. I made several adjustments including cutting the amount of sugar in half and eliminating the french vanilla pudding mix I added the first time. This time closer, but it was lacking in flavor and was still very dense and now dry. It was almost like a drop biscuit texture on the inside. Not quite as much of a crust on it though. Also it took 15 minutes longer to bake at 350 degrees. So, now I am trying to formulate attempt 3. My thought is that I will replace the Crisco shortening with canola oil. I thought I would also add an additional egg and increase from 1Tb baking powder to 2 Tb. Note that I am using cake flour, granulated sugar and milk for the liquid in this recipe. Maybe I should switch to dry milk with water? Any thoughts or recommendations are greatly appreciated!!