Banana chips, to decorate
Maple frosting125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 Grease a 20cm round cake pan. Line base and side with baking paper.
2 Place dates and water in a small saucepan. Bring to boil. Remove from heat. Stir in soda. Cover with lid. Stand for 5 minutes.
3 Combine flour, sugar, banana, essence, coconut and eggs in a bowl. Stir in butter and date mixture. Spoon into prepared pan.
4 Cook in a moderate oven (180C) for about 50 minutes, or until cooked when tested. Cover with foil during cooking if top starts to over-brown. Stand in pan for 5 minutes before removing and cooling on a wire rack.
5 To make Maple Frosting, beat butter in the small bowl of an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add icing sugar mixture, 1/2-cup at a time, beating until smooth. Beat in syrup.
6 Spread Maple Frosting over cold cake. Decorate with banana chips.
■ For an equally delicious taste sensation, decorate with pecans and walnuts, grated chocolate or toasted coconut instead of banana chips.