A mouth-watering dessert from Ireland's best-loved chef, Neven Maguire.
This Victoria sponge is inspired by mulled wine and the fragrant scents that we all associate with Christmas. The jam is also delicious for breakfast, so consider making a double batch so that you can have some tucked away." - Neven Maguire
Yield: Serves 6-8
For the sponge:
- 225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 200g caster sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 225g self-raising flour, sifted
- Finely grated rind of 2 oranges
- Seeds of ½ a vanilla pod or 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon of baking powder
For the mulled berry jam:
- 300g fresh or frozen mixed berries, such as blackberries, blackcurrants, blueberries and raspberries
- 250g caster sugar
- Finely grated rind and juice of 1 orange
- 4 tablespoons of red wine
- 5 cardamom pods, bashed
- 2 star anise
- 1 cinnamon stick, snapped in half
- ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger
- 450ml cream
- Fresh mint leaves
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4). Grease and line 2 x 20cm (8in) loose-bottomed cake tins with non-stick baking paper.
- Using a hand-held electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add two of the eggs and half of the ﬂour and beat until combined. Add the other two eggs and the rest of the ﬂour along with the orange rind, vanilla, cinnamon and baking powder and beat vigorously to get a good amount of air into it.
- Divide the batter between the prepared tins. Bake in the oven for 25–30 minutes, until the cakes have shrunk slightly from the sides of the tins and spring back when touched in the centre. Remove from the oven and leave the cakes to cool in the tins.
- Meanwhile, make the mulled berry jam. Put all the ingredients in a heavy-based pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Put a small plate in the freezer (this is to check the jam later).
- Raise the heat to medium and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until the liquid has reduced and the berries are coated in thick syrup. To check that the jam has reached setting consistency, remove the plate from the freezer and put a spoonful of jam on it. After a minute, push your ﬁnger through it. If it wrinkles, it’s set. If not, give it another 5 minutes and check again. Leave to cool in the pan, then remove all the spices and discard.
- Whisk the cream in a bowl until thickened and holding its shape. Put one sponge upside down on a serving plate or cake stand. Using a palette knife, spread on half of the whipped cream. Spoon over three-quarters of the jam, allowing some to drip over the edges, then cover with the second sponge. Pipe or swirl the rest of the whipped cream on top and dot with the remaining jam. Decorate with the fresh mint.