Along with our great love of singing the Dixie Chicks as loud as possible, wearing robes all day long, and cheap red wine — Donnie, one of my best friends from college, and I share our love for food. There were hundreds (probably thousands) of times I texted him saying, "I'm starving, lets go get lunch" or "Come over, I made you breakfast." He'd kill me for writing about all the times we went to Cracker Barrel (I'm not ashamed) for "SUNDAY CHICKEN!"
There are many people I miss in Kentucky, but Donnie tops that list. It's hard to describe the energy he brings to daily life but it is so dynamic and present you can't help but feel it every time you're around him. There are, of course, times I've wanted to slap him and I've (sort of jokingly) threatened his life more than once — but he is truly selfless and amazingly hard working. Donnie was my warm blanket through college, he's seen me ugly cry and freak out more times than I'd like to admit. He saw me through heartache and stress. He held my hand and cried with me the whole time when I had to put my german shepherd, Penny, to sleep. I know at any time of the day or night, Donnie is always there to offer a hug, perfect advice, and a cup of tea. (I'm sort of crying while writing about him — Don Don don't you dare laugh at me!)
Something I love about our friendship is how we always seem to be on the same brain wave, even from 3,000 miles away. While I was texting Donnie about life in California and I asked him what he had planned for the weekend. After he went on about dinner plans and going out, he mentioned being most excited about the pineapple upside down cake he was making. I immediately laughed and told him I had the EXACT same thing planned! He went right into telling me why he was excited to bake the cake — how he loves the cherries and how classic and old school it is. (If you know Donnie, you know he’s a fan of the classics.)
It was perfect serendipity, and put a smile on my face to know we were still on the same page. I’m thankful that Donnie and I can bake cakes together even from opposite ends of the country. I look forward to the day I'm back in Kentucky with him — singing our hearts out together and enjoying many meals like we always have.
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Liberally coat a 10" cake pan with butter, scatter raw sugar evenly in pan. Place pineapple slices on top (some overlap is fine).
- Whisk flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
- Add eggs, egg yolk, buttermilk, butter, and blood orange zest and juice; mix until no dry spots remain (a few lumps are okay; do not over mix).
- Pour batter over pineapples and spread evenly with spatula. Bake until top is golden brown and cake pulls away from sides of pan, 35-40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in pan for 5 minutes before inverting and turning out onto cake stand or large plate.