WOW! Thanks for all the wonderful help. I truly want to be a great baker like all of you pros on this forum.
I will try to address all the questions as best I can.
Freshkid (love the name btw): as I do not have the book in front of me right now, I will have to get back to you with the weight of the ingredients I used. But I can tell you I divided the weight of each ingredient by 3, then added this amount to the total weight. EX: for flour I divided 10.5 by 3 and got 3.5, then added 3.5 + 10.5 and got 14, so I used 14 oz. of sifted cake flour.
Hector (I think your cakes are marvelous): I did use cake flour, and I sifted it before weighing it on my scale. Also, I used the bp ratio for 8x2 in pans (from the base recipe in the back of the book—the one that said ??? tsp per base—sorry I can’t remember the exact amount right now) and muptilied it by 4 since I was doing a standard recipe with 10.5 oz flour plus an extra .333). I used a hand mixer since my new KA stand mixer had not arrived yet. I mixed the dry ingredients with the butter and 3/4 milk until just moist then I started the timer and beat the batter on high for probably 1 minute 45 seconds. Then I added the eggs in 3rds and beat each time for only 20 seconds. Then I added the white chocolate and beat for about 30 seconds until just incorporated. So maybe it was overbeaten? I did open the oven after 25 minutes to check and it was not done so I set my timer for 10 minute increments and opened it briefly, then again after another 10 minutes. I took the cakes out after 55 minutes and cooled for 10 minutes in the pan then took them out and cooled on wire rack.
Julie (thanks for your ideas): There were no tunnels in the cake but there were a few small bubble holes (about the size of a small pea) at the top when I leveled it. Does that mean I did overbeat it. Perhaps my handbeater is not good to use for this cake. And you are right, the cake top was very brown and crunchy, so I most definitely overfilled the pan since it also rose above the top by 1/16 inch. The cake top was very flat and the texture, however was fine and fluffy. The cupcakes did sit in their cups while I baked the other cakes (so they were sitting out on the counter—I forgot to refrigerate—for about 55 minutes). They came out with flat tops. I tested one cupcake immediately (not waiting for it to cool) and it was moist and delicious. However, when I ate the cake and the cupcakes (which had been wrapped and refrigerated) the next day they all seemed a little dry, but still very fine and fluffy in texture. I did buy good quality chocolate from whole foods (brand escapes me, but it was not the 365 whole foods brand) and it did contain mostly cocoa butter and a little lecithin. I also have Lindt white chocolate, Green & Blacks as well as Ghiradelli—I was going to make a cake with each to see which I liked better). Maybe you are right about the pan size and I may have to buy 9 inch pans, since it seems the 8 x2 are too deep and require too long to bake, creating a dry cake with the other problems mentioned.
Is there any site or book you can recommend where I can learn additional info on the chemistry of baking. TCB was very informative, and now I am interested in learning more. I also am having my oven checked, just to make sure it is not an oven problem. My KA stand mixer came today, so I will retry the cake using it.
Sorry for taking up sooo much of your time. I do want to figure this out. I never liked not being able to solve a problem and I can talk about baking/cooking issues forever. I am normally a good cook and amateur baker so this lack of success is truly troubling me. Again, I do greatly appreciate all your help. Perhaps there is still hope for the aspiring baker in me.