Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.
To prepare the cake, sift the flour and spices into a large mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar. Using a mixer at medium speed, beat the butter, jams, eggs, milk, and vanilla until smooth, 2 minutes. Stir in the nuts, if desired.
Divide batter evenly among the prepared pans. Bake 18 to 23 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pans on a wire rack 10 minutes. Remove the layers from the pans to cool completely on a wire rack.
To prepare the icing, combine the brown sugar, milk, butter, and salt in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and add the confectioners’ sugar. If the icing is too thick, add a little milk. Stir in nuts, if desired. Spread over one cake layer. Top with second layer; ice top. Top with third layer, ice top.