Orange and dates are a natural pair, as one bite of this easy-to-make bread will attest. It's moist and rich, and it makes a lovely addition to breakfast, brunch, or afternoon tea. Feel free to add a cup of chopped pecans or walnuts, if you like. The bread freezes beautifully, so you might want to bake 2 loaves and freeze one for a future use.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F. Butter a standard loaf pan and set aside.
Combine the dates and milk in a small pan and heat over low heat to the start of a simmer. Turn off the heat and let the dates steep in the milk while you prepare the batter.
Place the eggs, sugar, oil, orange extract, and zest in a large bowl and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon to combine.
In a separate, smaller bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt, and whisk to blend.
Add the date-milk mixture to the egg-sugar batter and beat to combine. Add the flour mixture all at once and stir just until the batter is blended and smooth. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake for 35 minutes.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue baking until the bread has begun to pull away from the edges of the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes more.
While the bread is baking, make the glaze topping by placing the confectioners' sugar, butter, orange extract, zest, and milk in a small bowl and stirring until smooth. If the glaze is too thick, add another teaspoon or two of milk to thin. Set aside at room temperature.
Let the bread cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto a wire rack. Spread the glaze over the top of the warm bread and allow to cool completely before serving. Store the bread, tightly wrapped in plastic or aluminum foil, for up to 3 days at room temperature.