Greece’s Fanouropita: A Cake to help you Find Lost Items?

Greece’s Fanouropita: A Cake to help you Find Lost Items?

Greece’s Fanouropita: A Cake to help you Find Lost Items?

By Maria Paravantes

Read Maria’s full article and learn all about Agios Fanourios and the Greek Fanouropita custom on

Fanouropita – literally meaning a “cake that makes things appear” – is a nine- or seven-ingredient Lenten – and vegan – cake made as an offering to Agios Fanourios, the youngest saint in the Orthodox Church and the protector of the island of Rhodes.

Every year on August 27, Greeks prepare a “fanouropita” in honor of the saint and take the special cake to church during the “esperinos sunset service (or vespers) where it is blessed and then shared.

Agios Fanourios is always portrayed as a young soldier in uniform. The story of the saint comes to us from the island of Rhodes, where during the restoration of the city’s walls in 1350 a perfectly preserved icon was discovered in church ruins depicting Fanourios, who was holding a candle and surrounded by 12 images portraying his trials.

When we Greeks prepare the fanouropita, we call on the saint to bring to light lost items or “reveal” whatever it is we are seeking.

One can take the story of Agios Fanourios many different ways. Agios Fanourios is always depicted as holding a candlea symbol of light, enlightenment, awareness, or of bringing into the light.  

The Ingredients in Sacred Numbers

The fanouropita cake is prepared on the eve of August 27 or on the same day and depending on the region is made with either seven (olive oil, flour, sugar, orange juice, walnuts, raisins, cinnamon) or nine ingredients which tradition has it symbolize the seven days of creation, the seven archangels or the league of angels. According to tradition, it should be shared with at least seven people.

Maria’s Fanouropita: The Recipe

Handed down to me from my mother, I’ve added a few more ingredients to this wonderfully healthy, dairy-free cake.


• 3 cups self-rising flour

• 1 tsp baking powder

• ½ tsp baking soda

• 1 tsp cinnamon

• 2/3 cup olive oil

• 1 cup brown sugar

• ½ cup freshly sqeezed orange juice

• ½ cup dark raisins

• ½ cup Sultana raisins 

• ½ cup walnuts

• 1 ½ tbs orange zest

• 1 shot glass of brandy

• 1 tbs of your favorite jam (not grape)

Making Your Fanouropita in Steps

Step 1: Pre-heat oven to 175 °C (345 °F)

Step 2: rub orange zest with your fingers into the sugar and let sit

Step 3: mix with a fork flour, cinnamon, baking powder and soda 

Step 4: warm brandy (not to boil) and soak raisins (you can also use cranberries)

Step 5: use mixer and blend oil (you can use corn oil for a lighter version), sugar, and orange juice

Step 6: using mixer add flour mixture (step 2) to oil-orange-sugar mixture (step 5)

Step 7: stir in raisins and walnuts

Step 8: pour mixture into 26cm cake tin and let sit for 10 minutes

Step 9: make your wish, ask Agios Fanourios for some help or guidance, and seek forgiveness for all including yourself!

Bake in the middle to lower rack of the oven for about 45-50 minutes. When your kitchen starts smelling wonderfully, stick in a knife and if it comes out clear, it’s ready! If you’re baking in a convection oven (fan) bake for 45 minutes max.

Take out of the oven, place on a rack, and let cool.

Once it has cooled off, remove, place on a plate, and add confectioner’s (powdered) sugar on top. I adorn with sesame and hemp seeds. I know for a fact that Agios Fanourios will turn a blind eye to the use of a few more ingredients and will actually be honored that you took the time to make his cake. Make sure to share this sweet gift!


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