Cake:heat oven to 350°F Coat two 5 3/4x3x2 1/8-inch mini loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar and salt. Set aside.
Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add dates, shortening, baking soda and vanilla. Stir until shortening is melted. Remove from heat; stir into dry ingredients. Add egg and beat with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are combined. Stir in walnuts.
Divide between prepared loan pans. Bake at 350F for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. turn out onto rack; cool completely.
Frosting: heat broiler. In a small saucepan, melt butter and sugar. Stir in cream and coconut. Spread frosting equally over the two loaves. Broil for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes until lightly browned. Let loaves cool completely.
To present as a gift, place cooled cake in devorative tin or wrap in pretty paper.