Fanouropita is a Greek, vegan, spicy cake made to honour St. Fanourios, who is known to help people find lost objects or to reveal things to them.
When the lost item is found or what you have asked for has materialized, one should bake a Fanouropita, which is a cake in memory of St. Fanourios’ mother, and give it either to the poor or in church, after the liturgy which takes place either on the eve of Saint Fanourios name day, 26th of August or on the 27th in the morning or at the vesper.
The cake is brought to any church, preferably of Saint Fanourios also written Phanourios, where the priest blesses it with a nice ceremony.
In Cyprus, apart from the above dates, the faithful can also take the cake to church every Friday. To be frank, I don’t know if this tradition takes place in Greece as well.
After the liturgy, the cakes are cut and shared with the people. (Have a knife and napkins with you or cut them ahead and wrap each piece in cling film).
About Aghios Phanourios
On August 27th, according to the Greek Synaxarion, we commemorate the Holy Martyr Phanourios.
He appeared to people on the island of Rhodes in 1500.
Several people had a vision of the saint and then his icon was discovered.
Aghios Phanourios is the saint of revelation – that is why he is often depicted as a young soldier holding a sword in one hand and a lit candle in the other.
There is a tradition concerning him and his mother, who was a harlot and great sinner. His love for his mother caused him to pray for her incessantly.
At the time of his martyric death by stoning, he could not even then forget his mother, and with the boldness that is peculiar to athletes of Christ, prayed: “For the sake of these my sufferings, Lord, help all those who will pray to Thee for the salvation of Phanourios’ sinful mother”.
Many to this day pray for his mother and have her listed in their personal diptychs used for commemorations in the Divine Liturgy as “The Mother of St. Phanourios” since her name is not known.
On the day of the Saint, there is a tradition that the faithful bake a special bread (cake), and according to some accounts, give it to the poor as alms in the name of his mother, and others, share it with at least seven other people.
St. Phanourios’ name gives a hint about another tradition concerning the Saint. “Phanourios” comes from the Greek word, “phanerono”, meaning “I reveal”.
He is known to help people find lost objects or reveal things that you want to happen.
All the cakes you see in the church are made after finding the objects asked to be found.
St. Phanourios’ church in Pangrati, in Agiou Phanouriou Street, is a very small church belonging to the Holy Land and the blessing takes place in the back yard. This year there were more than 200 cakes and breads spread on three big tables.
This cake is really delicious. You don’t need to be an Orthodox Christian to make it. In the title I name it as “vegan”. It can easily be made “vegan” by adding plain tahini and substituting honey with more sugar.
Those receiving the cake must ask for his mother’s sins to be forgiven “Ο Θεός να μακαρίσει τη μάνα του Αγίου Φανουρίου” (the name of his mother is not known) .
A few months back my son lost something which at the time seemed impossible to be found. After making all possible efforts to recover it, without success, I told him that on the eve of St. Phanourios I would make a cake if what he was looking for was recovered.
A few days later it was miraculously recovered.
The cake must be Lenten and contain any of the ingredients listed below provided that the number is odd: 7, 9, 11, etc.
The basic ingredients are flour, sugar, oil, cinnamon, raisins, walnuts and then any other ingredients may also be added.
In Cyprus the tradition says that the cake, after being blessed in church, must be given to 7 women who were married only once and are not divorced.
Before, going to the recipe, as many of you who follow me on Facebook, may have already heard that my beloved brother passed away, after a heart attack, on 20th of August (2010). He is leaving behind his beloved wife and three children.
Ι wish to thank you all for your lovely messages, either private, here or at Facebook after the announcement of the death of my beloved brother.
Although I still need some time to grieve, and it will take some time until I feel like blogging again, I am writing this post for my orthodox readers who may want to make this sweet bread (or cake), in memory of my late brother.
In the meantime there are also some happy moments in our life as well.
Yesterday, we learned that my daughter has passed at Panteios University of Economics and Political Sciences, in Athens, Department of Sociology.
Also, my son who has finished his first semestre of his Master Degree, came first in his class and won a scholarship.
Update: 25th August, 2016
A new Fanouropita with Tahini
Here is another Fanouropita I made today, as St. Phanourios revealed some great news for our family, which, however, I wish to keep private.
This is a very easy cake which I made without even using a mixer but just a simple whisk.
The video was taken in 2018, when making the cake again, this time using the mixer.
Fanouropita (Vegan Cake)
Fanouropita is a vegan, spicy cake that is dedicated to St. Fanourios whose memory is celebrated on the 27th August.
- 450 grams (about 3 1/2+ cups) self-raising flour (or use all-purpose flour together with 2 1/2 tbsp baking powder (20 grams) and 1 tsp salt (7 grams)
- 250 grams (or 1 ¼ cups) sugar
- 1 cup mild olive oil or mixed with vegetable oil
- 1 cup + 2 tbsp orange juice (3 juicy oranges)
- ½ cup (100 grams) walnuts, coarsely cut
- ½ cup (90 grams) raisins
- 1 tbsp cinnamon, powdered (7.91 grams)
- 1 tsp cloves, powdered (2.20 grams)
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- Icing sugar for dusting on top (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180o C / 350o F or 160o C / 320o F, if using a convection oven.
- Beat the olive oil and sugar in a stand mixer, on high speed, for a few minutes until light and pale.
- Meantime sieve the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves and mix in the salt, walnuts and raisins.
- Add the orange juice and vinegar.
- Lower mixer speed and add them to the wet ingredients and mix to combine.
- Turn off the mixer and with a spatula, scrape down the sides. Mix for a few more seconds.
- In the meantime, line a 24 - 26 cm spring form baking pan with parchment paper.
- Pour the mixture into the pan.
- Place the rack in the centre of the oven. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the centre, comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- Sprinkle some icing sugar on top.
- The cake is usually made with self-rising flour. However, as I did not have some, I made it myself by adding salt and baking powder. The ratio is for 150 grams of plain flour, 5 grams of baking powder and 2.5 grams of salt.
- The amount of sugar mentioned makes the cake sweet, so if you don't like it too sweet, just add less, I would suggest 3/4 of a cup.
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Nutrition InformationYield 20 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 127Total Fat 11gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 0mgSodium 117mgCarbohydrates 7gFiber 0gSugar 6gProtein 0g
"These values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed."
In the past, we used to take Fanuropita to church and distribute it to the faithful, without any precautions. We would give them the napkin and they would take the piece themselves.
However, now due to Covid, we should take precautions in order to safeguard the people. We cut the cake at home into pieces, and either wrap each piece with cling film or put each piece in a food bag, so that there is no risk of infection by the virus.
My take on Fanouropita: "with Tahini" (Vegan Cake)
Fanouropita is a Greek, vegan cake made to honour St. Fanourios, who is known to help people find lost objects or to reveal things to you.
- 375 gram self raising flour (or use all-purpose flour together with baking powder and salt). See note.
- 100 grams sugar (I used muscovado sugar)
- 65 grams extra virgin, mild olive oil
- 125 grams tahini with honey (same amount of plain tahini but increase sugar to 1 cup)
- 3/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup brandy (or if you do not want to use alcohol, substitute with more orange juice)
- 30 grams raisins
- 150 grams crushed walnuts
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp cloves, powdered
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Beat olive oil, tahini and sugar in the mixer.
- Meantime mix flour with baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cloves. In another bowl mix walnuts and raisins with a few tablespoons of above flour mixture.
- Add the orange juice, brandy and vinegar as well as the flour, raisins and walnuts and mix.
- Preheat the oven to 180o C / 350o F.
- Grease and flour a 20 cm baking pan or line it with parchment paper.
- Pour the mixture into the pan.
- Bake for about 50 minutes or until a knife, inserted in the centre, comes out clean.
- When it cools, you can sprinkle some icing sugar on top.
The cake is usually made with self-rising flour. However, as I did not have some, I made it myself by adding salt and baking powder. The ratio is for 150 grams of plain flour, 5 grams of baking powder and 2.5 grams of salt.
Nutrition InformationYield 10 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 441Total Fat 23gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 19gCholesterol 0mgSodium 270mgCarbohydrates 50gFiber 3gSugar 16gProtein 9g
Here are some more vegan cakes for you to try.
Vegan Chocolate Avocado Orange Almond Cake
This vegan chocolate cake uses avocado and extra virgin olive oil instead of any other fat, it is loaded with chocolate flavor and and many other healthy ingredients.
Vegan Chocolate Ganache with Tahini
One of the easiest and delicious, vegan glazes to add on top of your vegan cakes and other creations!
Vegan Carrot and Banana Cake with Coconut Frosting
A very moist, delicious and healthy Vegan Carrot Cake with Banana, Spices and topped with Coconut frosting and Bergamot fruit preserve.
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Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,
Saturday 18th of September 2010
Dear Ivy I have read this post with so much admiration; I am so impressed that despite your grief you managed to research and write and bake with so much professionalism. Such interesting tradition for that cake. Life is so strange, handing you sorrow on one hand and joy on the other; I would take both and be grateful. I am going to try this cake, as we have been blessed this year with a lot of walnuts from our orchard. I am so glad you are still blogging and I am going to be cheering you on as you participate in that contest..
Saturday 18th of September 2010
Thank you Joumana.
Tuesday 14th of September 2010
Ivy, this is my first visit to your blog, though I suspect it will not be my last. I am sorry for your loss and hope that time will ease your sorrow. I found you through the FoodBuzz Project Food Blog competition and wanted you to know how much I enjoy the food and recipes you feature here. I hope you have a wonderful day. I'm anxious to see what you feature in the next competition challenge. Blessings...Mary My recent post Corn Soup a la Patricia Wells
Tuesday 14th of September 2010
Thank you so much Mary. I am still debating whether to participate or not.
Sunday 12th of September 2010
I am sorry for your loss!!!!The cake sounds interesting..... I would love to try it.
Monday 6th of September 2010
Oh Ivy, I am so sorry for your loss. This is the first I heard of it. Congrats also to your talented son and daughter. My recent post A foodie trip through Sydney
Friday 3rd of September 2010
Sorry for the loss of your brother...and congratulations for your daughter and son...so nice! The cake is so interesting and so the information on your post...thanks!