I didn't like cakes until I used this cookbook! Everything has come out perfectly. Even my husband, who is never in the kitchen, bakes from it. We both love how specific she is, how she explains every facet of what you're doing, and how the book is easy to read. In addition to the fabulous cake recipes, there is also a section on frostings, meringues, fondats, marzipan, fruit fillings, etc. There's even a guide to how to make your own marzipan roses.
Most recently I made the white velvet cake (same as the all-occiasion downy yellow butter cake, but with egg whites instead of yolks). I cut the layers in half lengthwise, added sliced bananas and the white ganache (a white chocolate whipped cream frosting), and then covered it in white ganache. It was for my mom's 50th, and it brought her back to a cake from a bakery in her childhood. :)
Total classic, and helped me understand baking on a deeper level; I can improvise/devise/alter recipes now and have a much better sense of how ingredients and techniques affect outcomes! She is a pioneer in popularizing the science that underlies cooking. I loaned my copy and never got it back---permanently borrowed by a culinary school student, so I'm haunting the used book store for a "new" copy!
This is definitely a classic. If you want to learn to make cakes, there is nothing else that comes close. My copy is battered (literally!) stained & falling apart at the seams, but every cake has been wonderful, including the wedding cakes I've made for family & paying customers.