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Preheat the oven to 180 C, lightly butter a muffin cups, or a 20 x 20 cm square deep ovenproof dish then line the base with a piece of greaseproof or non – stick baking paper.
Place the dates and 300 ml of water in a small saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes until the dates are soft. Take off the heat nad call slightly. Then stir in the dates and liquid, set aside.
With a electric mixer beat the butter, caster sugar, flour, eggs and vanilla extract until smooth. Then stir in the date mixture.
In a small pan melt the butter, add the syrup and brown sugar, mix well. Spoon it into base of the dish. Toss the bananas in the lemon juice and put on the base of dish.
Spoon the date mixture over the top and level the surface.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until well risen and the centre springs back when pressed with fingertip.
Remove the muffin cups, serve with scoops of ice cream, if using.