Preheat the oven to 350F. Using extra butter, grease a 9x5" loaf pan. Set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk together flour and spices.
In a small bowl combine milk and vanilla.
Coarsely chop nuts and dates (if using).
In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, making sure that they blend well.
Add pumpkin purée and lower the speed of the mixer to low or mix it by hand only until blended.
Still beating on the low speed or mixing by hand, add in 3 parts flour mixture, alternating it with the milk. Keep mixing until smooth. Fold in nuts and dried fruit.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Shake it until it all spreads evenly.
Bake for one hour or until toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let cool for 5-10 minutes before unmolding.