1 cup raisins
3 tablespoons dark rum
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm (105 to 110° F.) water
3/4 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon oil or 1 teaspoon lemon extract
Grated zest of 1 lemon
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
Place raisins in small bowl and sprinkle with rum. Let stand 1 hour or up to overnight.
To make the sponge:
In a medium bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water. Let stand 5 minutes and stir to dissolve the yeast.
In small saucepan or a microwave oven, heat milk to 105 to 110° F. Stir warmed milk into yeast mixture. Add flour and stir with a wooden spoon 100 strokes. (This helps develop gluten and improves the cake's texture.) Scrape down bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let stand in warm place until sponge doubles in volume, about 1 1/2 hours.
Butter a 10-inch Gugelhopf mold well (or use a plain or fluted tube pan). Drain raisins well (if desired, save any drained rum to use in the glaze) and set aside.
To make the Gugelhopf:
Using a heavy-duty standing mixer fitted with the paddle blade, on medium speed, beat butter and granulated sugar until light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. One at a time, beat in the eggs, then the salt, lemon oil and lemon zest. The mixture will be soupy. Reduce speed to low. Scrape sponge into butter mixture. Gradually beat in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, to make thick batter. Beat about 10 minutes. The batter will feel sticky, look elastic and cling to the sides of the bowl. Beat in the raisins, just until incorporated.
Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand in warm place until batter rises to the top of the pan, about 1 1/4 hours.
Position a rack in center of oven and heat to 350° F. Bake until top is golden brown and a long wooden skewer inserted in center of bread comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool on wire cake rack 10 minutes. Run a sharp knife around inside of mold and tube to release bread. Unmold onto rack and cool completely.
To make the glaze:
In small bowl, using a rubber spatula, mix confectioners' sugar with rum until very smooth. Place cooled bread on wire rack over a piece of waxed paper. Pour glaze over top and around sides of bread, then thinly spread glaze all over bread with a pastry brush. Immediately sprinkle almonds over wet glaze, patting them, if necessary, to adhere. Allow glaze to set, about 30 minutes. Serve immediately or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
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