Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-x-5-inch loaf pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess.
Put the pan on a baking sheet.
In a small bowl, using your fingers, toss together the sugar, nuts and cinnamon until evenly mixed. Set aside.
Whisk together the eggs, applesauce, oil and buttermilk until well blended. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cloves. Remove 1/2 teaspoon of the mix and toss it with the fruit, just to coat; set aside. Stir the oats into the bowl. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry and, using a large rubber spatula, stir just until everything is evenly moistened–this is a case.
in which less is more, so don’t overdo the mixing. Scatter the dried fruit over the batter and stir to blend. Scrape the batter into the pan and sprinkle over the topping, tamping it down very lightly with your fingers so it sticks.
Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the bread is browned and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the bread to.
a rack to cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up.