Like Almond Paste? This Ring’s For You! August 30, 2009

I had posted these photos in a bread forum early this year and had provided the link for the recipe.  It’s from Cook’s Country (same company as Cook’s Illustrated).  “Recipes that work” is the company’s slogan and that’s no exaggeration.  Despite my stupid mistake, it did work and was a real sweet experience as well.

Unlike most recipe sites that allow free access without joining or registering as a member, the Cook’s web site is available only to paying subscribers.  But for some reason, when I googled “chocolate almond ring coffee cake,” the recipe popped up. You can’t get it directly from the site, google will have to take you there.


The recipe intimidated me and I wasn’t sure I could pull it off, seeing that I have little baking experience.  One thing I learned in the kitchen though is if you take the time to sit down, read and re-read the instructions carefully and then visualize each step, chances are you could end up with a half decent concoction.  When I tried this recipe, I was a little short on concentration and my thinking was at the time…well…kind of sluggish.

But because I ate marzipan (almond paste) when I was little, I was so excited to try this recipe; so excited that I forgot to put on my thinking cap.   

Worse, I even substituted one or two ingredients.  The recipe called for semi-sweet chocolate squares that were supposed to be chopped and blended into the almond paste.  My biggest mistake was to melt cocoa powder with milk and blending this with the paste, which of course, gave me a semi-liquid mixture instead of a solid one.  Result? The chocolate was runny.  Notice the chocolate oozing along the sides. 

When you have a runny dough, handling it resembles a calisthenics session. Those segments above should have been turned up (“standing up”) as Cook’s Illustrated instructed, but I could not turn them up because I was afraid the rest of the chocolate filling would spill out.  I managed however to fill up my flattened dough with the chocolate and then roll it into a cylinder, after which I struggled to form it into a ring, cutting it into equal size slices.


I was grateful for having been able to avert another kitchen disaster despite my error; the finished product turned out to be excellent.  I even gave my next door neighbor some  slices and she loved it.  She asked, when are you making this again?

Despite my mistake, I salvaged this chocolate almond ring coffee cake and it was a delight to the eyes and palate. 

I’ve got to hand it to Cook’s Illustrated.  Their slogan – recipes that work – is well deserved.  They should add a few more words to that slogan – “recipes that work even for people who change the ingredients”!

Here’s a close-up of a section of the cake.  It was gobbled up in less than 24 hours.


If you want the recipe, do as I did.  Ask google for “chocolate almond ring coffee cake.”  If you don’t get it, email me at and I’ll be happy to send it to you.