The night before you make the cake, put the raisins in the glass bowl and pour the rum or water over the top. Allow the raisins to soak for 6 to 8 hours. If you can’t do an overnight soak, bring the raisins and rum to boil in a saucepan, then remove from heat and let the mixture stand, covered, for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350° F/175° C.
In the medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Toss with the dates and walnuts. Set aside.
In the bowl of the stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well, then add the applesauce and mix well. Add the dry ingredients 1 cup at a time and mix on low just until combined, but don’t over mix. Drain the raisins and gently fold into the batter.
Spread the batter in the prepared baking pan and smooth the top. Bake in the preheated oven until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.