Two weeks I made this chec or Romanian banana bread for a charity at work. There’s no banana in it, I know ! But that’s the best translation I could think of, that also provides a pretty good idea of the texture. Just sweet bread or babka would be more like cozonac, rather than chec. So different textures, very distinct baking methods.
Everyone baked some traditional Christmas sweets from their country or anything they wanted and sold the food at work. The money collected were used to buy gifts and other things for a few selected children and their families.
Selling Chec or Romanian banana bread
My choice was this easy chec or Romanian banana bread , but one my mum used to make a lot as a kid ( and still does). Though not the most fancy desserts, I knew it would be delicious and also accessible for me to prepare late in the evening, after work. So this is a quick recipe, for a very delicious fluffy one.
I tested the recipes about 3 times by now. First recipe I tried definitely had too much flour, which ended in a dense cake . But second and third time came out perfectly . My mom’s old recipe notebook was the basis for it, but oh men did it lack some details. For example the quantities had to be rechecked and written in standard measuring cups and grams . Further, I had to use my knowledge and intuition on some of the recipe steps. Cause they were completely left out or written without much specification.
This is one particularity typical to food bloggers as opposed to other person. When a food bloggers writes a recipe, we right with details on duration, appearance, consistency etc . The rest of the people mostly write the steps briefly . Luckily, we have good intuition and already know what’s missing , so we can fill in the blanks by ourselves. Or we know what questions to ask .
Anyway, the chec or Romanian banana bread resulted in a really airy light bread. It seriously just melts in your mouth .
What’s great about this cake are a few things. It doesn’t require any special ingredients . So chances are you would always have them on hand . If you don’t, they are inexpensive and available at any corner store. This is quite helpful when you might have guests coming over on short notice or you don’t have much time. I actually prepared the batter first thing as I got home, then studied for my Polish class while it was baking. And enjoying the pleasant aroma lifting from the oven and invading my kitchen space .
Dunk it in milk
My favorite way to serve it is with warm milk. A hot cup of milk, a piece of the chec and dunk it for a second. But any hot drink you prefer would be just as tasty .
7 eggs, at room temperature
¼ teaspoon salt
250 grams (1 cup and 3 tablespoons) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
90 ml (1/3 cup) vegetable oil
Zest from 2 lemons
250 grams ( 1 and ½ cups) flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons nuts, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chocolate chips, optional
Yields 2 loafs, pan size 20-35 cm
- Prepare a long shaped baking tin by greasing with butter then dusting with flour. Rotate the pan to evenly coat it with flour and remove any flour excess. Alternately, line the tin with baking paper.
- In large bowl, whisk the eggs together with the salt, until a foam is obtained and becomes pale yellow in color, for about 2 minutes. Add the sugar and whisk at high speed, until the foam triples in volume. It takes about 8-10 minutes. Add the vegetable oil and the lemon zest and mix for a few seconds, to incorporate.
- Preheat the oven at 220 degrees Celsius.
- In a separate bowl, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and a pinch of salt and whisk them together. It’s recommended to also sift them at least once, so the baking powder and soda is evenly distributed.
- Sift/dust the flour over the whisked eggs, in 4-5 batches, and gently fold/mix with the spatula (not with a mixer! as it will knock out all the air). It should still look fluffy and airy. After the first batch of flour is mixed in, pour about 1 cup of the batter in a separate bowl (put it aside).
- Once done, pour 1/4 of the vanilla batter in the baking tin. Add the cocoa powder over the 1 cup of batter saved previously and gently mix it. Pour 1/4 of the cocoa batter over the vanilla batter. The the other half of the vanilla batter followed by the cocoa batter. Gently tun a butter knife thru it, just ti give a marble effect. Sprinkle the chopped nuts (or chocolate chips ).
- Bake for 5-7 minutes at 220 degrees Celsius, then lower the oven temperature at 180 degrees Celsius and bake for about 50 more minutes. Do not open the oven for at least the first 40 minutes. Do the toothpick test to check for doneness.
- Let it cool down for about 15 minutes, then remove from the tin and let it cool completely upside down, on a rack if available or kitchen towel.
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