Cozonac it’s the traditional Romanian cake that we make and serve at every important holiday, be it Christmas, Easter, or even weddings.
It is usually difficult to make and it takes lots of time, so be patient. If you follow our instructions you will get a delicious cozonac, sweet enough and fluffy.
There are many tricks of the trade when making this recipe, and you will hear people swear by the type of flour they use or by how many eggs they use. There is also one recipe from a beloved Romanian food blogger that uses 10 egg yolks. I also love that recipe. But since discovering this recipe, is the only one I make. And I bake these types of sweets for almost 15 years. The most important thing is to knead long enough at the beginning and to have the right temperature in the room.
Warm the milk and add the yeast and mix well. Let them for 5 minutes, until the yeast activates. Then, In a large bowl put the flour, sugar and and add all the other ingredients. Mix everything well until you form a ball of dough. It should be kneaded for at least 30 minutes. It’s easier to use a stand mixer for kneading.
Let it rise for one hour in a warm room (it’s important to have 28-32 degrees in the room the dough sits. You can put it in the kitchen, leaving the oven open, or near a heater.
Use this hour to prepare the filling. Mix the egg whites with sugar until you get stiff peaks. Add the cocoa and the other spices and mix gently with a spatula. Incorporate the walnuts and the raisins.
After one hour, the dough should have doubled its volume.
From 1 kg of flour, you will get two cozonacs. Split the dough in half and then take one bowl of dough and place it on a surface greased with sunflower oil. Put some on your hands, to prevent the dough from sticking.
Split the dough in half again and using your hands roll out two sheets of dough. Put some filling on each one of them and then roll them and braid them together.
Put the dough in the bread tray. Mix two yolks with one tablespoon of warm milk, half a tablespoon of melted butter, and 50g of sugar. Grease the cake with this mixture.
Repeat the same steps for the second cake. Let them rise in the warm room for an additional 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.
Bake them for 1 hour, at 150 degrees. It’s important to respect both the timing and the temperature.
After you remove them from the oven, make sure you let them rest for 4-5 minutes in the tray, and for another 5 minutes, placed on one side, when you remove them from the tray. Cut them when they are a little cooled, not very hot.
You can keep them at room temperature for up to three days.