I can't remember where I found the beginnings of this recipe, but it is an easy no-yeast quick coffeecake that looks beautiful and tastes divine! Its fillings are versatile once you get the hang of making it. I sold it by the slice at the church bake sale. It always went fast and in fact once a woman just bought the whole cake outright to take home for the family.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare your pan. You can either put this into an 8" cake pan or on a parchment lined baking sheet. It will spread out more on the baking sheet, up more in the cake pan. Rub crisco or oil into the cake pan if using. I usually cut a piece of parchment to fit in it.
In one mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Cut the butter in with a pastry cutter or your fingers. In another smaller mixing bowl mix the milk and egg together. Pour this into the bowl with the flour mixture and mix with a fork until a cohesive dough. If it seems too dry to come together, add a teaspoon of milk at a time until it works. Pull it out onto a floured surface and knead lightly 2-3 times. Set aside.
Rinse out the egg bowl and to it put the chopped dates (they do love to stick to the knife), brown sugar and rum or vanilla. Mix this up with a fork. Set aside. Have soft butter ready.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle about 8" x 14". There will be stickiness. Just add sprinkles of flour as needed. Spread the soft butter over the surface. Sprinkle the brown sugar date mixture over the butter. When done you can sprinkle on chopped nuts if you are using. (I once even added chopped fresh cranberries I had on hand. You could add chocolate chips, apricots or all kinds of things.)
Roll up the dough from one of the long sides. You may have to use the help of a bench scraper or spatula to help it when sticking to counter. When rolled, pinch the long edge shut. Gently roll back and forth a little pressing gently. You will have a snake like tube now. Slice this tube in half the long way, so you have 2 long half tubes, cut sides up. Pinch one of the ends together and now pick each half up gently and twist them around each other, picking up the right side and laying over the left one, now take the new right one and cross over the left one, etc. Try to keep the cut side up. When done, form a circle by pinching the 2 ends together to make a ring. You can bake it just like this. Or once I added some sprinkles of streusel and sliced almonds on top before baking.
Put into the hot oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, keeping an eye. When it is barely golden brown, take it out. You can glaze with a powdered sugar/milk mixture if you like. Or a light glaze made with powdered sugar, milk, a teaspoon of butter and a few drops of vanilla. Speaking of vanilla, if you dont want rum in the cake, but a teaspoon of vanilla in instead.