Temperature & cookware
If your oven temperature is questionable, invest in an oven thermometer (even newish ovens can be out so this is a good idea however old your oven is!) as some ovens can be out as much as 75 degrees. Before mixing your cake prepare your cake tins, turn the oven on, and make sure the shelf is in the centre. I always place a Pyrex dish with water in the bottom of the oven to help keep the cakes moist whilst cooking.
Shiny pans reflect the heat; therefore these are a better choice for cake baking. Reduce the oven temperature by 25 degrees when using glass pans. Have all ingredients at room temperature for best results. Use coco powder instead of flour for dusting a greased pan when making a chocolate cake.
Ingredients & technique
For better texture, try substituting butter milk for regular milk in your cake recipe.
To make chocolate whipped cream combine 2 tablespoons each of unsweetened coco powder and confectioners sugar in a mixing bowl, gradually stir in 1 cup of whipping cream, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before beating.