Chocolate Nemesis Cake – From The River Cafe. Just 4 ingredients – Easy

Chocolate Nemesis Cake River Cafe
Chocolate Nemesis Cake

Chocolate Nemesis Cake is an ultra chocolatey, super smooth, chocolate mousse cake that you’d think you were eating a slice of chocolate heaven. Any lover of chocolate will swoon for a slice or two of this unbelievably delicious cake.

Chocolate Nemesis Cake is so easy to make using just four simple ingredients. It’s also flourless so it fits the bill for those that can’t eat gluten. Win, Win!

The original recipe comes from the famous London restaurant The River Cafe located on the north bank of the Thames in Hammersmith.

Just where the recipe originated we’re not sure, but The River Cafe has certainly put it on the map.

At a Glance This Is What You Need To Make Chocolate Nemesis Cake

ingredients to make Chocolate Nemesis Cake


unsalted butter
caster sugar

Shopping List

70% cocoa dark chocolate

Perhaps it’s called Nemesis because it can and has been the downfall of many a cook. Reasons being there are discrepancies in the recipe all over the internet with people basically ending up with something that resembles a chocolate cowpat. Definitely not what we are after!

Oddly we had heard of this famous cake but never made it. So we set about making this baby to see what the fuss was all about.

Doing Our Homework

We headed to YouTube and found a video of The River Cafe’s Chef Sian Owens making Chocolate Nemesis.

Sian used a 25cm (10 inch) pan which we didn’t own so we went over to Omnicalculator.com for our cake pan converter and scaled the recipe to make using a 20cm (8 inch) pan.

We have no affiliation with Omnicalculator.com other that it’s a site we use often to scale recipes to suit the size tin, or pan that we own in our kitchen.

Chocolate Nemesis Cake - River Cafe

So Here Goes Our Step By Step Copy Cat Attempt

There’s basically just four stages to making Chocolate Nemesis that can happen simultaneously.

First up you’re just melting the chocolate and butter together over a pot of simmering water until fully melted and smooth.

The next stage is beating the sugar and eggs together. The secret of the Chocolate Nemesis is to beat the eggs and sugar till they have quadrupled in volume.

While the eggs and sugar are beating together add the remaining sugar to water in a small pan and simmer till the sugar has dissolved.

While the sugar is dissolving liberally grease a cake tin with butter and line with baking (parchment) paper on the base.

Now add the syrup to the chocolate and butter mixture then add to the egg and sugar mixture till evenly mixed.

That’s it! Pour it into your tin and put into a baking tray lined with a clean tea towel or hand towel that has been folded several times (this helps to insulate the cake from the heat rising up from underneath) and pour hot water into the pan to approximately 1/2 the height of the cake pan then bake.

‘The Easiest Chocolate Cake You’ll Ever Make’

We think the Chocolate Nemesis Cake should be renamed The Easiest Chocolate Cake You’ll Ever Make. Nemesis be gone, the puzzle has been solved!

Speaking of easy if chocolate is your thing and let’s face it who isn’t into chocolate, you absolutely have to try our Upside Down Chocolate Crumble Tart from the very talented two Michelin starred Raymond Blanc.

Having made both the Chocolate Nemesis Cake and the Upside Down Chocolate Crumble Tart it’s actually very hard to decide on a clear winner. Chocolate Nemesis Cake is ridiculously quick and easy to make, but don’t let that detract from the fact that this cake is unbelievably silky smooth and a full-on chocolate hit.

Upside Down Chocolate Crumble Tart on the other hand is equally easy to make. Though it takes a little longer to prepare the base, the plus here is there is no baking. So no guessing when the tart is cooked. Really the difference between the two would be if you wanted a bit of crunch added to the smooth silky chocolate filling! We think it’s a tie between the two show stoppers.

The Sugar Syrup

It’s important when making the sugar syrup not to stir it. Use a swirling motion to move the pan till the sugar dissolves. This is so the sugar doesn’t crystallize ( a whole science thingy that we won’t go into today).

Melting The Chocolate And Butter

Bring the water to a simmer and place the chocolate and butter in a bowl making sure the bowl does not touch the water and place bowl over the saucepan. Gently stir 2 or 3 times until the mixture is melted and smooth.

The Cake Tin

Make sure to use a solid cake tin and not a springform pan, otherwise water will seep into the batter.

Testing Timing

We tested the Chocolate Nemesis at the 50, 55, 60, and 65-minute mark for readiness. At each timing, we pulled the cake out and pressed a finger onto the top of the cake and it was a little sticky (i.e chocolate batter was left on my finger)

At the 65 minute mark, the cake was set and the sides gently pulled away and no batter was sticking to my finger. Perfect 😃

Watch How To Make Chocolate Nemesis Cake From The River Cafe

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Thrilled With The Result

OMG! We were thrilled with the look of the cake and the ease that it released from the pan. Slicing into the cake revealed a gorgeous ‘truffle-like texture’, it’s almost part cake, and part chocolate mousse.

The texture is silky and smooth with an incredible depth of chocolate flavour. We finished the cake off with a light dusting of cocoa powder and served it with some fresh blueberries. Winner, Winner!

We gave some slices to our recently married neighbors, Mrs. and Mr. Cute Couple, who popped round the following day to rave about the cake. Apparently, they ate it in bed and went for a second course of cake rather than lights off……sent them home with the remaining cake today for a Sunday night special. Woohoo!

Don’t forget to let us know what you thought when you make this amazing Chocolate Nemesis Cake from The River Cafe in the comments below. 

Chocolate Nemesis Cake
Yield: 10-12 serves

Chocolate Nemesis Cake - River Cafe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

OMG! We were thrilled with the look of the cake and the ease that it released from the pan. Slicing into the cake revealed a gorgeous 'truffle like texture', it's almost part cake and part chocolate mousse.

The texture is silky and smooth with an incredible depth of chocolate flavour. We finished the cake off with a light dusting of cocoa powder and served with some fresh blueberries. Winner, Winner!


  • 225g dark 70% cooking chocolate cut into smallish pieces  (8 ounces) - we used Lindt 70% cocoa dark chocolate
  • 145g unsalted butter, cubed (5 ounces)
  • 1 cup caster sugar divided into 1/3 cup for mixing with the eggs and 2/3 cup for making the sugar syrup
  • 3 x 60g whole large eggs (2 ounce)
  • 1/3 cup cold water
  • a little extra butter to grease the cake tin


  • preheat oven to 120c (250f) on bake, not fan
  • grease a 20cm (8 inch) solid cake tin with butter and line the base with a disc of baking paper
  • stir 2/3 cup caster sugar and 1/3 cup water into a small pan
  • gently simmer the sugar and water over medium heat till sugar has dissolved - do not stir, but swirl the pan to incorporate the sugar and water
  • remove pan from heat when sugar has completely dissolved - you should have a clear syrup
  • place chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water - make sure the bowl does not touch the water
  • gently melt chocolate and butter till smooth, stirring occasionally
  • pour sugar syrup into the melted chocolate mixture and mix together
  • place eggs and sugar in a clean bowl and beat for 5-6 minutes until mixture has quadrupled in volume and is thick and a pale yellow colour
  • add the chocolate mixture while beating to the eggs and sugar, continue beating until just incorporated
  • pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin
  • tap cake tin on bench 2 or 3 times to release any air bubbles
  • have a baking tin with a folded clean teatowel on the bottom of the baking tin ready
  • place cake tin on teatowel
  • place baking tray and cake into oven on middle shelf
  • now pour hot (not boiling) water into the baking dish to come about half way up the side of the cake tin
  • Baking
  • bake for 65 minutes, cake is ready when you can touch the top and batter doesn't stick to your finger and sides will easily move (see 'cooking time testing' and video above)
  • remove from the oven and leave the cake tin in the water bath and allow to cool on kitchen bench till completely cold
  • remove cake tin from water bath and dry the pan (no drips on your serving plate)
  • slide a knife around the inside of the tin
  • place a plate (larger than the cake) over the cake tin and flip plate
  • top of cake now becomes the bottom
  • serve with fresh blueberries, raspberries or strawberries
  • enjoy!


  • the cake firms up when refrigerated
  • remove cake from fridge an hour or so before serving to allow the cake to soften
  • wipe the blade of the knife in between slices to achieve a perfect slice

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 366Total Fat 20gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 7gCholesterol 131mgSodium 75mgCarbohydrates 44gFiber 1gSugar 41gProtein 5g

Nutritional information provided here is only intended as a guide.


Cooper’s nemesis at times seems to be the gorgeous plump green tree frogs. Nightly Cooper stalks the frogs, crying, barking, nosing them, all to no avail. The frogs just seem to go about their business seemingly oblivious to Coops. It drives him nuts. Poor Coops.


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  1. Oh my goodness, so good!! Hubby says this an 11/10 and a definite keeper, we served it with some home made vanilla ice cream, big fat yum!

    1. Recipe Winners says:

      Hi Kylie, thrilled to hear you and Hubby enjoyed the Chocolate Nemesis Cake and we love Hubby’s rating of 11/10

  2. Can I lose the sugar in the recipe? besides the taste, why do I need sugar in the cake?

    1. Recipe Winners says:

      Hi Mike, we really can’t see any reason that deleting the sugar would cause any issues, we’d be interested to hear how it goes for you. Jo and Jen

  3. what is the size of the templete?

    1. Recipe Winners says:

      Hi Moses, not sure what you’re referring to. Can you contact us again? Regards,Jo and Jen

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