In large bowl, beat sugar and shortening with electric mixer on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until well blended. Beat in milk, vanilla and eggs. On low speed, beat in flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, scraping bowl occasionally, until dough forms. Stir in pecans, dates and 1/3 cup chopped cherries. If necessary, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 15 minutes for easier handling.