Fanouropita, the Greek vegan spice cake

Fanouropita, A Vegan Spice Cake with Olive Oil and Nuts

The vegan spice cake Fanouropita is made in celebration of St. Fanourios, the revealing saint, whose feast day is August 27th. The tradition is to make the cake the day before and bring it to Vespers to be blessed; alternatively, you can bring it for the morning liturgy. After the service, everyone takes their cakes and shares them with fellow churchgoers. The tradition of baking for St. Fanourios derives from the saint's own life; he was persecuted by the Romans for his Christian faith and upon being finally martyred he declared that those who baked a cake and shared it with the poor would be heard even in their sorrows. He also prayed that we ask forgiveness for h is mother, who died a pagan. To this day, the tradition is to share the cake and to ask God to forgive the soul of St. Fanourios's mother. It's a beautiful and humbling tradition.

But, of course, you can make this vegan spice cake any day of the year. It's great for breakfast, too! To find some of the artisinal Greek products you'll need to make this, visit my online shop

, where you'll discover a host of lovingly curated Greek ingredients.

20 min
40 min


  • For one 10- or 12- inch / 25- 27-cm cake
  • 4 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups extra virgin Greek olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 scant tsp. baking soda
  • 1 3/4 cups fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup seedless dark raisins
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • Sesame seeds or confectioner’s sugar for garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F/175C. Lightly oil a 10- or 12-inch round or 9 X 13-inch baking pan.

  2. Combine the flour, spices, and optional zest in a bowl and set aside.

  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together the olive oil, half the orange juice and the sugar at medium speed until creamy.

  4. Dilute the baking soda in the remaining orange juice mixture in a medium bowl.

  5. Reduce speed on mixer and add the orange juice-baking soda mixture. Whisk until smooth.

  6. Add the dry ingredients incrementally mix in the dry ingredients, mixing at low to medium speed until everything is well combined and the batter is dense and thick. .

  7. Transfer the batter to the baking pan. Spread evenly. Bake the Fanouropita for about 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes away clean.

  8. Remove the cake, cool and then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Dust generously with confectioner’s sugar and serve.


Note: You can grate orange zest into the cake mixture as well, and, in lieu of confectioner's sugar you can top the cake with sesame seeds, which you should sprinkle onto the surface just before baking so that they stick.

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