This recipe is based on a very old traditional Romanian sweet loaf called “cozonac.” It can be made in a few different flavors but the walnut chocolate filling is the most popular. This version is made with hearty spelt flour and it's also free from refined sugar. Cozonac is very very light and fluffy, but this wheat-free cake is dense and heavy but still delicious in its own right.

Cozonac: Romanian Walnut and Cacao Christmas Loaf [Vegan]

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Cooking Time



For the Loaf:

  • 4 cups spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Cacao Walnut Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • A drop of rum essence
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup water


  1. Sift your spelt flour into a large bowl to get rid of any of the gritty parts.
  2. Add in all the loaf ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together into a wet dough.
  3. Leave to rise covered for about 2 hours until the mixture has doubled in size.
  4. After it has risen, the dough should be elastic but if you find that it is still too wet, keep adding flour until you get a consistency that is easy to knead.
  5. Knead for about 10 minutes on a floured surface.
  6. Roll out into a rectangle with a rolling pin no longer than the size of the loaf tin you are going to use and about 1/3-inch thick.
  7. For the walnut, filling adds all the filling ingredients into a food processor. Add your water slowly until a paste consistency is formed. You may not need all the water.
  8. Once your walnut paste has formed, spread out evenly on your dough with a spatula or butter knife leaving a little space around the margins.
  9. Carefully roll the dough into a cylinder shape and transfer it into a lightly greased or lined loaf tin. You may need to squeeze it in slightly.
  10. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, about 335°F, or until a toothpick comes out clean (please note baking times will vary depending on your oven, so keep an eye on your loaf).
  11. Allow to cook slightly before serving. Works really as a breakfast slice as well.


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