This rich gluten free dessert is baked in a bowl, chilled, and inverted onto a platter. Whipped cream snowflake stars get piped all over the outside. It's a suprisingly easy dessert to master. Makes one 8-inch snowball, serves 10 to 12.
12ouncessemisweet chocolatechopped in 1/2-inch pieces
1cupless 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4pound3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2cupsheavy cream
Make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a medium (5- to 6-cup, about 8-inch diameter) stainless steel bowl with aluminum foil so the foil overlaps the bowl 3 or 4 inches.
Put the chocolate in a saucepan. Pour the coffee over, which will melt some of the chocolate. Place over medium-low heat, add the sugar and stir with a wire whisk to dissolve the sugar and any unmelted chocolate. Add the butter gradually, a dollop at a time, whisking until the butter is incorporated before adding the next dollop. This should take about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Slowly whisk the beaten eggs into the chocolate mixture. Pour through a strainer into the foil-lined bowl. Discard any firm bits of egg that remain in the strainer. Bake 50 to 55 minutes, until the batter rises and a cracked top crust forms. The mixture will still jiggle, like molded gelatin; resist the urge to bake it a little more; the butter and chocolate set up when chilled.
Let the cake cool. Fold the overlapping foil over the top and refrigerate at least 8 hours, keeping the cake in the bowl.
To frost and serve:
Remove the plastic wrap from the bowl. Pull the overlapping foil away from the cake. The cake will have fallen in the center--to make the top flat and even, press the raised outer edges down. Or trim the extra height with a knife, reserving the scraps for indulgent snacks. Place a flat serving plate or cardboard circle over the bowl and invert. Gently remove the foil.
Whip the cream with the sugar and the vanilla until the cream comes to soft peaks that hold their shape. Put the cream into a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe stars, covering the dome completely.