Akupe, when i said cream your butter and sugar til it turns white, i didnt mean it literally, however, I must say your observation was quite insightful, it made me re-think how I should communicate valuable hints -I'll try and put myself in the mind of a notice baker so that I can effectively make him/her a master of the art (and hopefully the science!) of baking...thanks. Molly, cream your butter and sugar for about 20mins before adding the eggs one piece at a time and so on...

If your are using 100% butter and caster sugar (super fine sugar), you neednt cream at all, you just combine the butter and sugar mix for a few secs ( but make sure the butter is at room temperature before you try this), then add your eggs one at a time. Another important thing to note, if you are using self-raising flour, there isnt any need to add baking powder because it already contains raising agent. Dont let the name self-raising flour confuse you, like it did me when I first started baking.

Make self-raising flour
To convert plain flour into self-raising flour, add two teaspoons of baking powder to each cup of plain flour. I also read somewhere that adding one teaspoon of cream of tartar and half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to one cup of plain flour gives the same result, though i havent tried the latter out.

Akupe, you also mentioned that your cake came out crusty and dried at the top, like I figured you used an electric oven with the heat radiating from the top, I must confess, I had the same problem when i once used an electric oven those early years of baking, I havent used one since, so I cant give accurate answers for now, but I'll do a little research on how the different types of oven function and post the links of the ones I find useful.

I currently use a locally fabricated oven with double-galvanised sheets, and i must say it's the best oven in the world! finding the right oven you are comfortable using is very important, it makes you want to bake everytime, hence improving your skills and confidence over time.

The Australian Women's weekly is a good place to get small tips on baking and cooking:
I've included a wikipedia link on flour as well:

Akupe, I hope when you bake your next cake, it would be a great improvement from your previous. Good luck!
I hope to compile an FAQ on baking over time, please keep baking!

...oh, by the way, it's Valentine's Day today, we had loads of cakes to bake, decorate and send out. Does that mean we are all loving and caring for one another? well, I hope so!
So peeps, show some love today, tomorrow and always!...