Rose Gray, the late chef of London's River Café, had a thing for flourless chocolate cakes. The River Café's signature dessert was called the Chocolate Nemesis, a concoction of chocolate, butter, and eggs that was more of a sliceable truffle than an actual cake. In Italian Easy there are no fewer than five recipes for variations on this incredibly rich and chocolaty dessert.
While I've never really thought of desserts as the enemy, I was curious to see if this cake lived up to its menacing name. The Easy Small Nemesis Chocolate Cake is simple to put together and the limited list of ingredients makes it a good option for a last minute dessert, assuming that you have the chocolate on hand. The batter is melted chocolate and butter with a little simple syrup mixed into beaten eggs and sugar. The batter is poured into a buttered and lined caked pan and baked in a bain-marie, or water bath, for an hour, just until the center is no longer liquid.
Removing the cake from the pan is when its name really began to hit home. I had buttered the pan and lined the bottom with parchment as per the recipe, but the cake was pretty stubborn. I finally got the cake out of the pan in one slightly misshapen piece, but was left with all kinds of chocolate crumbs that I proceed to devour in a sort of chocolate-induced mania. Is this cake really the enemy? After eating more than my fair share with my bare hands and completely disregarding the fact that I was not even really hungry, the answer may very well be yes—a worthy and delicious enemy.
Win Italian Easy
As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Italian Easy to give away this week.
- Yield:10 to 12
- 12 ounces 70% cocoa chocolate
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup superfine sugar
Heat the oven to 300%deg;F
Using extra butter, grease a 10-inch round cake pan and line with baking parchment.
Break the chocolate into pieces and melt with butter in a bowl over simmering water. Beat the eggs and 5 tablespoons of the sugar in an electric mixer until the volume quadruples.
Heat the remaining sugar with 7 tablespoons of water until dissolved into a light syrup. Pour the hot syrup into the melted chocolate and cool slightly.
Add the chocolate to the eggs and beat slowly until the mixture is combined. Pour into the pan.
Put a folded dish towel in the bottom of a roasting pan. Put in the cake and add enough hot water to come three-quarters of the way up the side of the cake pan.
Bake in the oven for 1 hour until set. Leave the cake to cool in the water before unmolding.