Cake disasters - recommendations?

I'm a recreational baker, and the proud owner of a new KitchenAid mixer. While it seems I can make decent cookies/brownies/candies, for some reason I have never been able to make a really good cake (especially, for some reason, chocolate cake). I've tried all kinds of recipes from all sorts of sources, but I just can't seem to get it right.
I would really appreciate any tips y'all might have on:

1. Cookbooks or other resources to find solid, basic cake recipes
2. Tips with the KitchenAid - anything you have noticed when baking that makes a big difference?

Thanks, and happy baking!

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