Heat oven to 375°F (350°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease or spray bottom only of 13x9-inch pan. In medium bowl, toss dates, cranberries and 1/2 cup pecans with 1/4 cup cake mix. In large bowl, beat remaining cake mix, pumpkin pie spice, water, oil, eggs and applesauce with electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, then on medium speed 2 minutes. Stir in date mixture. Spread in pan.
Bake 34 to 39 minutes (37 to 43 minutes for dark or nonstick) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix butter, brown sugar, 3/4 cup pecans and the milk. Spread over top of warm cake.
Set oven control to broil. Broil cake with top 4 inches from heat about 1 minute or until bubbly. (Watch carefully to prevent burning.) Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours. Store loosely covered.