Zach and I were chatting creek-side on our weekend hike through Paradise Falls.
Stanley was trotting among the large rocks that were embedded in the shallow water leading up to the waterfall's large pool. He was drinking and splashing around and exploring the new world as he walked "on" the water.
All was well with the world when I heard a loud "PLUNK!". I turned back towards where Stanley had been playing, and he was gone, completely out of sight. I was in shock for a moment before his skinny little face popped out of the water, and his long lean legs started paddling. Stan had "explored" himself right into the deep water of the pool at the base of the waterfall...just walked right in!
We were all in for surprises that day. Stan must have been surprised that the ground that has always been below his paws completely vanished for a moment. Zach and I were surprised we didn't have to jump into the freezing cold water after him. He swam the few feet back to the solid ground and pulled himself back up to safety. He made "learning" to swim look like a piece of cake.
I made this cake for a family gathering during New Years. It was a simple recipe I pulled off of allrecipes.com. It is a great treat for a brand new year. It is a nice little twist on a regular ole layer cake. There is a nice orange flavor, and the deliciously surprising crunch layer adds some interesting texture. I used some homemade cream cheese frosting which turned out pretty well. However, I might try this again with a different kind of vanilla frosting with more body to it. I am just not a fan of cream cheese frosting no matter how hard I try to be.
Orange Crunch Cake
(recipe slightly adapted from allrecipes.com)
CRUNCHY, CRUMBY FILLING:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons grated orange zest (I used orange extract instead - read label for the measurement equivalents)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch pans. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, walnuts and butter. Divide mixture evenly between the prepared pans. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together the cake mix, water, orange juice and oil until blended. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the orange zest. Pour the mixture evenly over the crunch layer in the pans.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack and cool completely before frosting. Frost (crunch side up) between layers, on top and sides. Arrange orange sections on top, then refrigerate.
Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
(recipe from allrecipes.com)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup white sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
In a small bowl beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form; set aside.
In a large bowl combine cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat until smooth, then fold in whipped cream.