If you’ve read The Salvation of Jeffrey Lapin – or even the Jeff and Maddy Books page here on my blog – you’ll notice that there’s a fair amount of talk about cake. Today’s post gives you a glimpse into the world of holy cake into which Jeff is initiated.

I’m working on a longer post to show you some of the amazing cool traditional holy cakes in Orthodoxy, but I wanted to show you a quick version of how regular cake gets turned to holy cake. First, if you’re at church, the priest will do the blessing:

Here, the priest carves the sign of the cross into the surface of the cake.

Here, the priest carves the sign of the cross into the surface of the cake.

If you are celebrating at home, the head of the household will usually do the blessing.

Here's a cake about to be cut. You can see the cross marked into the top.

Here’s a cake about to be cut. You can see the cross marked into the top.Ca

For certain festive occasions, there is an order to how the cake is distributed. If it’s a special seasonal cake, for instance, like Vasilopita (St. Basil Cake), you set aside a piece for the Lord, a piece for the Theotokos (Mother of God), and a piece for the saint (St. Basil, aka Father Christmas). The next piece goes to the guest of honor if there is one. One of the first three pieces may be saved wrapped in foil in the iconostasis for the year. The other two can be shared with those present or given to the poor in honor of God’s love and kindness. When it’s a regular cake made holy by blessing and fellowship, as the one above is, you might offer the first piece(s) to the person or persons honored. But it doesn’t have to be so formal. In reality, birthday and nameday celebrants usually get the first piece as a mark of honor, but the eager little children usually get the first piece otherwise!

You’ll see a lot of cake and mealtimes in The Salvation of Jeffrey Lapin, because people who come back from the dead are always hungry! Now you can put an image with the descriptions in the book.

Do you have a special tradition for sharing cake? Please share in the comments!

This post contains an affiliate link.