Preheat the oven to 175C/350F
Grease and line a 20cm (8 inch) x 10cm (4 inch) loaf tin.
Place the dates into a small bowl and covering with the boiling water and add the dash of bicarb.
Allow to sit and soften for at least 30 minutes.
Add the date mixture and the maple syrup to a blender and mix until a purée forms.
Place the eggs into the bowl of a kitchen stand mixer and beat on high until fluffy (about 5 minutes).
Add the purée mix and continue to beat on medium. Add the vanilla extract.
Add the pumpkin to the blender and pulse (alternatively do this with a masher or fork).
Add the pumpkin to the mixing bowl and beat on medium until well combined.
In a separate bowl sift the dry ingredients together.
Fold the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl, being careful not to over mix.
Add the milk and stir through gently.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until cooked through.
Depending on the reliability of your oven it may pay to start checking at 50 minutes.
Allow to cool in the tin before slicing.
Can be served warm or cold, with cream or jam