Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F. Grease and line an 8 ½ x 4 ½" loaf pan with parchment paper or a loaf pan liner.
Spread the pecans out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 5-8 minutes until fragrant. Set aside to cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.
Next, beat in the eggs one at a time until fully combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the maple syrup and vanilla and continue beating until combined and smooth.
Mix in the bananas until combined.
Add ½ cup of the pecans to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground - but take care that you don’t blitz them into butter! Roughly chop the remaining pecans.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the finely ground pecans, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently stir in until just combined. Fold in the chopped pecans.
Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 50-65 minutes. Bake in the lower half of your oven to ensure the bread doesn't brown too quickly. Start checking for doneness after 50 minutes - you want a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the thickest part of the loaf to come out clean. If it’s not ready, return to the oven and continue to check in 5 minute intervals. Leave to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
Whilst the banana bread is cooling, make the frosting. Beat together the cream cheese and butter until combined. Add the icing sugar, maple syrup and salt and continue to beat until light and fluffy, scraping down the sides if needed.
Once cool, frost the top of the cake with the cream cheese frosting. If desired, top with chopped pecans and a drizzle of maple syrup. Makes 12 slices.