Scales Make for Accuracy
They're not just for dieters. Kitchen scales are a serious baker's best friend, and they can help make anybody's cupcakes (or cheesecake or banana bread) a lot more expert-tasting.
The thing about baking is that recipe amounts, especially for things like butter, sugar, flour and baking soda, aren't guidelines. They're very exact instructions - baking is chemistry, and all of basic ingredients react with each other to produce yumminess. If you're off by even a gram or two in the sugar, it'll affect your cake, and a gram isn't much [source: Kitchn]. One cup of granulated sugar weighs about 200 grams [source: JoyOfBaking].
This is why many baking cookbooks (especially European ones) list amounts in terms of weight, not volume. Investing in a kitchen scale, which can be as cheap as $20 and won't take up much counter space, can make a big difference in your finished product without putting a big dent in your budget.