Heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease and flour a 10-inch-by-4-inch tube pan. In a large bowl, stir together 3 cups flour, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and salt. Pour buttermilk into 2-cup glass measure or bowl. Stir in baking soda and set aside; it will foam slightly.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer at medium speed, beat butter until creamy. Gradually beat in sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla.
With mixer at low speed, gradually beat in flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, until just blended. Beat in preserves and pecans until just mixed, then finish mixing by hand with a spatula.
Scrape batter into pan and smooth top. Bake until cake is springy to the touch and shrinks from sides, and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 65 to 70 minutes. (If baking as holiday gifts, pour into three smaller pans and begin checking for doneness after 30 minutes.).
Transfer to wire rack and cool completely in pan. To remove from pan, run a knife or thin spatula around the edges and center tube. Turn cake onto plate and lift off pan. If desired, dust with confectioners' sugar before serving.