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Pour the rum and 200ml water into a saucepan (if you’re not using the rum, add an extra 100ml water). Bring to the boil, add the bicarb and dates, then leave to cool, allowing the dates to soak up the boozy liquid.
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Pour the dates and the liquid into a bowl and add the suet, flour, vanilla and sugar. Beat until completely mixed, then fold in the banana and spoon into a lined 900g loaf tin. Bake for 40-45 mins until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool.
While the cake is cooling, put the cream, sugar, butter and a small pinch of salt in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and cook until you have a bubbling sauce. Slice the banoffee loaf, pour over some sauce and serve with crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream, if you like.