Did you loose your car keys or partner? Did your boss fire you? Are you a shadow puppeteer and business is not going well? No worries – just prepare this cake with seven or nine ingredients, take it to church, divide it to forty pieces and give it away. It is a ‘Fanouropita’, in honour of Saint Fanourios, a martyr that was rediscovered in the 14th century, when an ikon was dug up while fortifying the walls of Rhodes. The local bishop Nilos (Nile) interpreted the icon and concluded that it depicted the passions of a forgotten martyr. So the cult of Saint Fanourios started. The Saint’s name sounds like ‘reveal’, and people started praying to him to ‘reveal’ lost items, persons or jobs. As to why he became the patron saint of the shadow puppeteers, no one knows. Perhaps it has something to do with the odd number ( 7, 9 or 11) of ingredients required to prepare the cake – or the words that have to be spoken while baking it.
In any case it makes a quite nice and very easy vegan cake that does not necessarily require a mixer (the cult of the saint started in the 14th century!).
You can always use sunflower oil instead of olive oil for a lighter texture.For the ‘Fanouropita’
- 1 cup olive oil (or sunflower oil)
- 1,5 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
- 2 Tbsp brandy
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 500g self-raising flour, sifted
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 Tbsp baking powder
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1 cup raisins
- icing sugar for dusting (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180ºC .
Grease and flour a 30cm diameter baking tin.
Place the olive oil, orange juice, brandy and the sugar in a large bowl and using a hand whisk beat really well until the sugar is completely dissolved.
In another bowl combine the flour with the baking powder , cinnamon, walnuts and raisins.
Add it to the olive oil mixture in batches and fold in with a spatula.
Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 50 minutes or until a knife inserted in the thickest part of the cake comes out clean.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool in the tin for 15 minutes. Then tap the tin firmly a few times and shake it gently to help loosen the cake. Invert the tin onto the rack, lift it off and let the cake cool on the rack.
Use a fine-mesh sieve or flour sifter to dust the cake with icing sugar, if using, just before serving, as the sugar tends to melt into the cake as it sits.
Enjoy with a cup of coffee!