This sticky and sweet banana bread is topped with a most delicious homemade toffee that seeps into the cake, adding moisture and sweetness to this already delicious cake. This is a great way to use up extra bananas and dates that you have in your house. Everyone will thank you!
Yields one loaf
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour an eight-inch loaf pan.
Mash the bananas in a medium bowl. Set aside.
Place the dates into a small bowl and toss with one teaspoon of the flour, to prevent the dates from sticking to your knife while chopping. Dump the dates onto a large cutting board and use a large knife to chop the dates into 1/2-inch pieces. Return the dates to the bowl and pour the boiling water on top. Add the baking soda and vanilla and stir to separate the date pieces. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter or margarine with the sugar using a stand or hand-held electric mixer on medium-high speed, or whisk by hand until creamy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. Add the eggs and mix well. Scrape down the bowl a few times. Add the mashed bananas and mix well on medium-high speed. Add the dates and liquid and mix in. Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix again on low speed just until combined.
Scoop the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.
After the bread has baked for 45 minutes, prepare the toffee topping. Place the butter or margarine and brown sugar into a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until melted, stirring often. Add the cream and mix in. Cook until the mixture boils and continue cooking for two minutes; it should bubble the whole time. Stir often. Reduce the heat to low and cook for another two minutes. Stir often.
When the bread is baked, remove from the oven and turn the oven temperature to broil. Use a lollipop stick or skewer to poke holes all over the top of the loaf, pressing in halfway through the loaf. Pour as much of the toffee over the top of the cake as the cake will absorb, until the mixture pools in the corners. If you have some toffee topping leftover, leave it in the saucepan to add later.
Return the pan to the oven for one to two minutes, allowing the toffee topping to bubble, but not burn. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes. While it is cooling, you can pour the remaining toffee sauce on top. Remove to a cooling rack and serve warm or at room temperature.
Store covered at room temperature for up to five days or freeze for up to three months. I like to reheat my slices before eating.