Sherlock Holmes has Moriarty. James Bond has Blofeld. Dr Who has the Daleks. Monkey Gland has Chocolate Nemesis.
Now, the first time you try anything, your pretty much guaranteed to get some aspect of it wrong. Even the second time, some curve ball might come your way. I cannot tell you how many times I have tried to make this damn cake and ended up with chocolaty slop.
The recipe, as you'll probably know, is from the first River Cafe Cookbook by Ruth Rodgers and Rose Gray. I have had the pleasure of eating there a fair few times and I've always loved it, I've even eaten the Nemesis, and it is very good. However, for some reason it will never ever go right for me. Different kitchens, different equipment, various states of consciousness, it will not work. It is so deceptively simple, the recipe is only about 12 lines long. Eggs, Chocolate, Butter, Sugar are all that are in it but for some reason it has become my albatross, the one damn thing I can never make right. The picture here is of one of the only pieces of the cake, in today's effort, that came out looking vaguely as it should.
Today for instance, I bought a new baking tray to act as the bain mariee. It was the correct depth and everything. I figured this time was gonna be the breakthrough. It leaked. A lot. Who ever heard of a baking tray that LEAKED!!??
I guess like Sisyphus I'll just have to keep making the damn thing, always failing, never quite getting there and comfort myself with the fact that the resulting gloop is pretty tasty. I'll view it as a Zen like exercise in permanent failure, ultimatly learning more about myself than the process of baking a chocolate cake.