Oatmeal (Rum) Raisin Icebox Cake

So I have feelings about oatmeal raisin cookies. Mostly of disappointment because it looks like a chocolate chip cookie from afar, and when you bite into it and realize that you have been deprived of your chocolate experience, only for it to be replaced with dried fruit, it’s infuriating. That being said, I wanted to tackle this dessert to help people like myself, who hate oatmeal raisin cookies, and make it a delicious treat that can stand on its own without being compared to a chocolate chip cookie. So I mainly opted to take the raisin aspect, which is honestly the part that oatmeal raisin haters don’t like, and make it the component in this icebox cake that people would enjoy and actually look forward to. My strategy with that? Rum.

Rum raisin is a hugely popular ice cream flavor, because the rum just soaks into the raisins and plumps them up so that they don’t look like chocolate, and they become juicy and tender. Another dried fruit that I adore using are dates, which obviously are used in sticky toffee pudding. So I figured why not use a lot of rum, brown sugar, and caramel to transform these raisins into something similar? The end result is this rum raisin compote that is tender and soft, like the raisins in rum raisin ice cream, and they are soaking up a delicious rum caramel, giving them a good amount of sweetness that makes them taste like little pops of caramel and brown sugar. For the rest of the cake, we have brown sugar oatmeal cookies to form our layers, and a rum cheesecake, just to add something that will compliment the raisins, since they are dried grapes after all! What I love about this cake is that it totally has a tiger sugar aesthetic, while tasting like the most delicious sticky date pudding meets rum raisin cake meets oatmeal raisin cookie you’ll ever have!

For the rum raisin compote:
1 cup raisins
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons rum
1/2 cup water
a pinch of salt

Bring all of the ingredients to a simmer in a pot on low heat, first with the lid on, until the raisins begin to plump up. Once the raisins are soft to the touch, remove the lid and cook out any excess liquid, leaving behind just the plump and softened raisins. Refrigerate.

For the oatmeal cookies:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup dark brown sugar
a pinch of salt
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 tablespoons rum
1/3 cup cold water

Mix the flour, oats, baking powder, sugar, salt, and butter until it becomes crumbly. Mix in the remaining ingredients to form a dough. Roll out your dough on parchment or silpat to about 1/8th a inch thickness. Cut out 6-inch circles. Bake the dough circles for 10 minutes at 375 degrees F. Re-roll the dough and repeat. You should get 7 circles from this dough. With the remaining dough, bake it off for the same time, in smaller pieces. You will adorn the cake with those crumbs to finish.

For the rum caramel:
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons rum
1/4 cup heavy cream
Rum raisin compote

Heat up the sugar until it begins to brown. Pour in the other ingredients and stir until everything is combined. Keep cold.

For the rum cheesecake:
1 tablespoon rum
8oz goat cheese
4oz cream cheese
1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
3 tablespoons milk
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip together until all of the lumps are removed. The mixture should be on the looser side, since it will spread easier between the layers and soak into the cookies more effectively this way.

To assemble:
Spread on the cheesecake, raisins, and caramel on top of each cooled down oat cookie before adding on top another. For the top layer, finish the rim with some of the baked crumbs. Freeze for at least an hour. Allow the cake to come up to room temperature before cutting and serving.

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