In Greece, this cake is baked and brought to church on August 27th, the feast of Saint Fanourios. He is the patron saint of lost things, and eating this cake is said to help you find what you are looking for. What I love is that "lost" is interpreted broadly—some people hope to retrieve literal lost objects, but equally popular is for unmarried women to eat it in hopes of finding a husband.
Though my goats are all accounted for and I don't need the cake to play matchmaker, I have been feeling, well, a little lost. I think it's a product of being semi bicoastal and being just around the age when friends start to peel off in various directions. It's a time to start to wonder about hitting life goals or, on the flip side, if maybe I should move to Cape Town or Tokyo or London before it's too late.
And so I found myself eating this cake, just one slab at a time, but insistently, for a few days until it was gone. I'd eat it standing at the counter, crumbs falling onto the blue kitchen tiles, or perched over my computer, trying to will writing inspiration to come. I found comfort in the moist crumb that tastes of fruity olive oil and orange and a hint of cinnamon. The last piece was eaten on my back deck at 5 pm, when it was still light out but cool enough to be warmed by a steaming mug of Earl Grey tea. I felt found, then, and momentarily settled. Maybe it was because I wanted the cake to work, or maybe because finding yourself can, for a moment, be as easy as eating a slice of cake and drinking some tea in the open air of oncoming twilight.
A note on the assembly: the batter for this cake is more like a dough. Just press it into the pan like and let the oven do its magic. It will bake up to the right dense yet moist consistency.