Grease a 1.2 litre pudding basin with butter, scatter the orange zest in the bottom and pour the maple syrup on top. Put the bay leaves in the middle and press down.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and light. With the motor running on low speed, slowly add the beaten eggs, making sure each addition is incorporated before the next is added. Sift in the flour, baking powder, ground cloves and salt and fold through with a large metal spoon.
Spoon the mixture into the pudding basin. Lay a buttered and pleated sheet of greaseproof paper on top of the bowl, buttered side down, and cover with a sheet of pleated foil of the same size. Secure tightly with string under the rim of the bowl.
Stand the basin on a trivet or an upturned ramekin in a large saucepan. Pour in enough boiling water to come halfway up the side of the basin and bring to a simmer. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer over a low heat for 1½ hours, checking the water level every 30 minutes or so and topping up with boiling water as needed.
Meanwhile, for the whiskey cream, whisk the cream with a dash each of whiskey and cream liqueur in a large bowl to soft peaks. Transfer to a serving bowl.
To check that the pudding is ready, unwrap and insert a skewer into the middle; it should come out clean. To unmould, loosen the sides of the sponge, then invert a warmed serving plate over the hot pudding and turn both over to unmould the pudding onto the plate. Glaze with some more maple syrup, if you wish.
To flambé the pudding, warm a little whiskey in a small pan and ignite it at the table with a match, then pour on top of the pudding. Serve with the whiskey cream.
Recipes from ’Christmas with Gordon’ by Gordon Ramsay, published by Quadrille (www.quadrille.co.uk
) Photos © Chris Terry