A few years ago, when I was living in Greece, I remember one hot day in August when all the old ladies of Aegina baked their own version of this cake to bring to church.
August 27th is the Saint's day of Agios Fanourious. His name comes from the Greek verb fanerono means "to reveal" and in the Greek Orthodox tradition this day is for praying to find lost objects, and for unmarried women to find their husbands...
Oh, how romantic.
When I first heard about this cake, I decided to put my own spin on it. The idea of praying to find your lost goat and your future husband seems like they were much more important quite a few decades ago, and maybe what speaks to us today is a little different. (Though if you ARE looking for your lost goat, by all means, ignore me.)
When I have been making this cake recently, (a lovely, spicy, olive oil and orange cake) in my mind I have simplified its meaning to "may what you seek be found". That, in my opinion, would be the modern interpretation of the holiday.
I found, when first baking this cake, that I rarely cook with such a specific intention. There is something very meditative and meaningful about the whole process, which you can then tell your guests about while they vacantly stare at you.
My favorite recipe for Fanouropita is Aglaia Kremezi's. The mandate is to use only 7-9 ingredients, and the cake uses no butter or eggs. The only thing I changed is to use good quality extra virgin olive oil.
Read more about fanouropita here.