Cream butter and sugar until light. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Combine flour, soda, salt, and spices in a separate bowl; add to the first mixture alternately with buttermilk; beating well after each addition.
Blend in the jam, chopped pecans, and raisins or dates. Pour into 3 round greased and floured 8 to 9-inch cake pans. Bake at 325 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden pick comes out clean when inserted in center.
Cool in pans on racks for 15 minutes. Carefully invert onto racks to cool completely.
Icing for Jam Cake: 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 1/2 cup cake batter, 1 TB butter. Mix together and heat on stove until boiling.