Rum Soaked Raisin and Date Coffee Cake

Whether it's a potluck brunch with friends or that weekend baked treat sitting on the counter, magically, slowly disappearing sliver by sliver till' it's back to the Monday hustle, coffee cake with a buttery, brown sugar crumble is an American staple. Mix-ins like nuts, fresh fruit, or sweetened elements like coconut and chocolate chips have starred in many coffee cake recipes. For a fall twist that compliments those bottomless brunch cocktails, I took freshly pitted dates and golden raisins, soaked them for an hour, well, forgot about them, soaked them overnight, so they absorbed every last drop of Old Monk dark rum. This is the fruity, booze-ladenly moist mid-layer to this ridiculous coffee cake. Please whip up a quick apple cider caramel, while the coffee cake bakes, so you can drizzle it on each slice, making it extra saucy. Makes one 9-inch cake or 9 1/2 inch fluted tube pan.
12OZSunsalted butter, plus more for the pan
1 ¾CUPSgranulated sugar
3CUPSall purpose flour (or white whole wheat flour), plus additional for pan
1 ½TSPNSbaking powder
½TSPNbaking soda
4Xeggs, room temperature
2TSPNSvanilla extract
1CUPbuttermilk, room temperature
¾CUPgolden raisins
¾CUPpitted, chopped dates
1CUPdark rum (or apple cider if you prefer no alcohol)
1CUPoatmeal streusel topping, see below

For the cake:
  1. Before pondering the process of this coffee cake, get that fruit soaking. In a small bowl, combine the raisins and the dates, then pour over the dark rum. Stir to combine, pressing the fruit back into the rum with the back of a spoon. Cover and set aside for at least 8 hours or overnight, until all of the rum is absorbed; stir frequently.
  2. Once the fruit has absorbed most of the rum, now it's time to prepare the coffee cake. Set the oven at 350 degrees, then butter and flour your desired baking pan.
  3. Place the butter in a stand mixer, and beat until smooth. Slowly, add in the granulated sugar and beat for about 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile in a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  5. One at a time, add the eggs to the butter mixture, fully incorporating each egg before adding another. Pour in the vanilla extract.
  6. Alternating dry and wet ingredients, but starting and ending with dry ingredients, add the flour mixture in three batches, then the buttermilk in two, to the stand mixer. Slowly mix until everything is incorporated, but do not overmix.
  7. Using a spatula, spread slightly more than half of the coffee cake batter into prepared baking pan, then sprinkle an even layer of the rum-soaked fruit. Finish with the remaining batter, using a spatula to gently cover all of the fruit and create an even layer. 
  8. Sprinkle the top of the coffee cake with the oatmeal streusel topping, gently pressing this layer into the top of the cake. 
  9. Place in the center of the oven, and bake for about 65 minutes, or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean. If browning too quickly, tent with tin foil for the remainder of the bake time. 
  10. Set on a cooling rack and allow to rest for about an hour. Slice and serve with your favorite ice cream, or a simple apple cider caramel sauce.

For the streusel topping:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine the following ingredients: 1 cup flour, 3/4 cup old fashioned oats, 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar, 2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg, and a pinch of salt.
  2. Toss to combine, then use a fork to gently work in 7 oz. unsalted butter, softened. 
  3. Incorporate all of the butter, but leave large, crumble-like pieces coated in the sugary mixture. Place in the fridge until ready to use, then sprinkle entire streusel topping over the cake just before baking. 

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