I find my cakes don't get dry when I substitute oil for some of the butter in scratch cake recipes. I made a white cake and left out some scraps, uncovered, overnight and the next morning ate some. The scraps were still moist, except for the very edges.
Scratch cakes take a beating at weddings. If they are not dense or rubbery or egg whitey they are invariably dry. Simple syrup does not mask dry scratch cake. Good scratch cake needs to just about be baked the day before because the cat is out of the bag. There may yet be debate about fluffy texture preferences but nobody likes dry.
Not all of them, but way too many.
I can't stand dry cake either. Blech. It has taken some time for me to come up with recipes for scratch cakes that have a desirable texture in tiered applications. I'm not sure many other people would go through such measures when they can have the ease and consistency of a mix. I just don't like the taste of most mixes so I went out of my way to find (invent) scratch recipes that work. And of course I could just be deluding myself that these cakes aren't dry and tasteless, but I like to think they are good .
I've tested and tested and tested too. I have some really nice scratch recipes. I would only use them if I baked the day before the event though. I mean I just can't push a deadline like that and stay sane. I've decorated by the light of the silvery moon when the power has gone out. We do have a generator for emergencies. It doesn't happen often of course, but it does happen. For me, it would be irresponsible to wait till the last minute to bake. Making a wedding cake is too intense an endeavor to not make the best choices for yourself and your client.
I've tried so many variations. The only problem I have with using butter in the cake is it binds so tight after the cake is refrigerated, the texture doesn't relax back out and it stiffens the texture. I mean delivering a cake that has not been fully chilled is risking it big time in hot weather or bumpy roads or if there's another car on the road.
Now if everybody ordered pound cake and staggered their weddings out over the week instead of all on the weekends that would sure be helpful.
I tried all oil --yech --part butter still changes the texture in the frige. Doctored cake mix avoids all these issues, every time.
Sure I can bake from scratch but scratch cake is not even close to my best choice for celebration cake (sculpted or tiered). Now for double the price I can bake it the day before
But that's only fair, it ginormously jacks up the stakes. Talk about a pressure pit. And the decor has to be tame enough or able to be mostly done in advance.
So in my opinion if scratch cake is baked more than a day or two at the most away from the date it's no wonder that by serving time it's past it's prime.
I was going to do a groom's cake once with someone else once for a Saturday wedding. She said, let's get together Thursday afternoon before the wedding to plan. Ahhh, oh man, too bad, something's come up and I won't be able to help. So sorry. No wonder her husband won't let her do cakes anymore.
Labor intensive, pinpoint accuracy.