1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1 and 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons raisins
4 cups water
2 cups superfine sugar
1 vanilla bean
2 cinnamon sticks
2 slices of a lime
2 slices of an orange
1/2 cup dark rum
Warm milk in a small saucepan. Whisk yeast, warmed milk and sugar in a large bowl until combined. Cover; let stand in a warm place about 10 minutes or until frothy.
Add sifted flour and eggs to yeast mixture; mix to a soft dough. Knead dough on a floured surface about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in a lightly greased large bowl, cover; stand in a warm place about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Grease four 12-hole, 1-tablespoon mini muffin pans.
Mix butter and raisins into dough; knead on a floured surface until combined. Roll 1 rounded teaspoon of dough into a ball and place each in a pan hole. Cover pans; stand in a warm place for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Bake cakes for 20 minutes or until browned lightly; cool in pans.
Meanwhile, make Rum Syrup. Instructions below.
Place cakes in a large heatproof bowl; pour over hot syrup. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour for syrup to soak in; refrigerate 1 hour before serving.
Stir the water, sugar, vanilla bean, cinnamon sticks, lime and orange in a large saucepan over medium heat, without boiling, until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, without stirring, 8 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in rum.
Makes 48 sponge cakes.