Butter and flour a 9 or 10inch round cake pan and line the base of it with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar with an electric mixer until the mixture is pale yellow and will hold a ribbon. Drizzle the melted butter around the edges of the bowl and fold the mixture together gently but thoroughly. Set aside. Sift the flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt together and set aside. In another, larger mixing bowl, beat the egg whites to the soft peak stage.
Fold half of the egg yolk mixture into the beaten egg whites. Fold in the dry ingredients and stir in the dates, pecans, and raisins. Fold in the remaining yolk mixture. Pour the batter into the pan and shake it a little to find its level. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack and then run a sharp knife around the edge to loosen the cake and turn it out onto a platter. Sprinkle confectioners sugar over the top and serve cut into wedges, accompanied by coconut ice cream, if desired.
c.1997, M.S. Milliken & S. Feniger, all rights reserved