Chocolate Nemesis Cake

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Last fall, I planned an exciting trip to London. The very first thing I did was make a reservation at The River Cafe, a famous Italian restaurant founded by Ruth (“Ruthie”) Rogers and the late Rose Gray. Why? Well, there was this dessert on the menu called the Chocolate Nemesis Cake, and just the name sounded magical. I was determined to taste it, come what may!

Now, you might wonder, how can just four simple ingredients create a heavenly cake? I was curious too. So, I decided to dig deeper and find out the story behind this delectable treat.

This cake is so popular that the restaurant sells about 500 slices of it every week. Can you imagine that?

Here’s how you make it:

Chocolate Nemesis Cake

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Dessert
Servings 18


  • 10 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons 575g granulated sugar
  • 24 ounces 675g high-quality bittersweet chocolate (with 70% cocoa solids), broken into small pieces
  • 1 pound 450g unsalted butter, softened
  • Crème fraîche a creamy French-style sour cream, for serving


  • Preheat your oven to 250°F (130°C). Grease a 12-inch (30cm) round cake pan that’s 3 inches (7.5cm) deep. Line the base with parchment paper.
  • Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs with one-third of the sugar until the volume quadruples. This takes about 10 minutes.
  • While the eggs are whisking, melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Remove it from the heat once melted.
  • In a small pan, heat the remaining sugar with 9 fluid ounces (250ml) of water until the sugar dissolves completely, creating a syrup. Gently pour this syrup into the melted chocolate, stirring as you go.
  • Slowly add the warm chocolate and syrup mixture to the eggs while reducing the mixer’s speed. Keep beating until everything is well combined. The mixture might lose some volume, but that’s okay.
  • Pour this wonderful mixture into your prepared cake pan. Place the pan inside a larger baking pan on top of a dish towel (this keeps it stable). Fill the larger pan with hot water so it comes about two-thirds up the sides of the cake pan.
  • Bake for 1.5 to 2 hours or until the cake is set. You can check by gently placing your hand on the cake’s surface.
  • Take the cake pan out of the water and let the cake cool completely before removing it (don’t put it in the fridge). Serve it with a dollop of crème fraîche on the side.

Voilà! Now you have a delicious Chocolate Nemesis Cake to enjoy, just like the one at The River Cafe in London. Enjoy your baking adventure!

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