Fanouropita / Saint Phanourios Cake

by Mary Papoulias-Platis

Post image for Fanouropita / Saint Phanourios Cake

Have you lost an item, and just can’t find it?

Turn to Saint Phanourios, the finder of lost articles. Traditionally, Fanouropita is cake is baked on August 27th., in which the baker makes a wish for good fortune. When an item is lost, the cake is baked to ask all saints for help in finding it. The items lost can be a missing piece of jewelry to good health and happiness.

My sister-in -law insisted I make this Fanouropita cake for you, to help carry on the tradition of baking.

I do know as I traveled Greece, baking is a very important custom for several Greek holidays. I attended a special service in Tripoli one Sunday, and the women brought beautifully decorated breads to have them blessed by the priest. Oh, I wish I had taken a picture! But, I nearly got kicked out of the church that day for sitting up front.

Here, I’ve made you the traditional recipe.

Fanouropita - Saint Phanourios Cake

This cake is baked in hoping to find a lost item in the Greek Tradition.

Course Dessert
Cuisine Greek
Keyword cake
Servings 6
Author Mary Papoulias-Platis


  • 1 1/4 cups olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 orange grated rind
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4-5 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds (optional) or dust with powdered sugar when cooled

Chocolate Cake

  • 2 teaspoons good-quality chocolate powder
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
  • powdered sugar


  1. Combine 4 cups of flour with the baking powder and spices and set aside. For the chocolate cake: add the powdered chocolate and instant coffee granules.

  2. Beat together the oil and sugar until blended. Add the water, orange rind, orange juice and walnuts and continue to blend.

  3. Next, blend in the dry ingredients until smooth. If too thin, add more flour until thickened.

  4. Pour batter into a buttered 10x14 inch pan, or two 8 or 9-inch pans, sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional) and bake at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. For the chocolate cake, let it cool and dust with powdered sugar.

This cake is made with pantry ingredients, which most cakes are in the Greek home.

But as you know I love updating a recipe to fit in with my California twist, that I often give to my Greek recipes.

The strawberry fields in our area are still producing colorful sweet berries. All I did here is add chocolate and coffee to the original recipe to give it more of a punch! (the measurements are above in the recipe).

During the baking of the cake, say a prayer for Saint Phanourios’ help and for the soul of his mother, a troubled woman.

Share the cake with seven or more people, but do not reveal what you are trying to find.

Sesame seeds are often used to top breads and cakes in the Greek cuisine. Greek cakes are traditionally not too sweet, and are often served for breakfast or as an afternoon treat.

You may also like my Vasilopita Cake, baked for New Year’s Eve.

Mike, have you found your keys yet?

Love to All, Mary

© 2019, Mary Papoulias-Platis. All rights reserved.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Barbara L Newton-Holmes

Thanks, Mary!!
Lovely story, super recipe.
Thanks for sweet thoughts to start the day!

2 Sandra Pappas

Hi Mary,

I loved our post on Saint Phanouris – I owe that saint a bakery of cakes for all the items I’ve lost and found 🙂 But I don’t see the attached recipe ?

Also laughed about your comment of ‘almost getting kicked out of church for sitting up front’. I guess that’s a no no in Greece ?
Thanks, Sandra Pappas

3 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Hello Barbara,
It’s quite a strange tradition, so of course I had to write about it!!

4 Mary Papoulias-Platis

You and me both, on losing things!
The recipe for the original cake is delicious with all the citrus in the cake.
The chocolate is the same recipe but I added 2-3 teaspoon cocoa powder and 2 teaspoons coffee.
Take a look at the original recipe, and look below.
Best to you,

5 Mary Papoulias-Platis

The recipe is back up, and I apologize for any inconvenience.

6 eatdessertfirst

Great article,.perfect pie! Well done for your blog!

7 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Thank you! A nice reason to bake!

8 Jan

I’s really like to try to bake this cake, but the recipe states ‘flour’ but not what type? I’m an expert on messing up (eek) so best I don’t guess.

9 Mary Papoulias-Platis

Hello Jan,
It’s with all-purpose flour.

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