For the cake:
- 1 cup chopped dates or whole raisins (dark or golden)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon each ground cloves and ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups peeled apple chunks (from about 3 apples)
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
For the glaze:
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- Additional equipment: 1 or 2 bundt muffin tins (makes mini bundt cakes with no hole) or 1 regular muffin tin, buttered and floured (or use nonstick)
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the dates in a bowl and toss them with 2 tablespoons of the flour until lightly coated (this will prevent them from sinking in the cake batter during baking).
Beat the eggs and sugar in a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or using a hand mixer) until fluffy. With the mixer running, slowly pour in the oil. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, and vanilla. Mix into the egg mixture. Mix in the apples and nuts, then stir in the dates by hand, distributing them evenly in the batter. Spoon into the muffin tins and bake about 35 minutes, until springy and dry in the center. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack, then turn out.
Meanwhile, make the glaze: Stir the maple syrup and sugar together in a bowl. Glaze the cooled cakes by spooning the glaze around the tops of the cakes and letting it drip down the sides.