Perfectly soft & moist Cranberry Orange Loaf drizzled with sweet orange glaze. Make sure to include this recipe in your holiday baking check list!
**This recipe was originally published on November 17th, 2015. It was updated on November 1st, 2016.**
When is it too early to start holiday baking? Last year, I spent the weekend before Christmas going crazy. I did 4 types of cookies, 3 fudge varieties, and 3 homemade candies in 2 days. Not to mention 2 failed attempts at caramels.
Then on the 23rd I flew to my sister’s for Christmas. After arriving I made 2 more types of cookies, fudge and peanut butter cups. Actual mayhem.
So this year, I decided to start recipe experimenting and planning early. I’m 100% certain I’ll still have a baking frenzy on the 24th (let’s be realistic), but hopefully there won’t be tears and a tray of burnt sugar cookies.
Having a practice run is clearly the responsible thing to do… Not to mention delicious.
So this past weekend, I started off with a Cranberry Orange Loaf. I was going to wait til December to share this recipe – but it’s too delicious to postpone.
Super soft & moist, infused with fresh oranges, filled with cranberries, and drizzled with orange glaze. The sweetness of the orange pairs perfectly with the tart cranberries. And with a super soft crumb – this loaf is perfect for breakfast, afternoon coffee or a Christmas gift.
The delicious fruit combo comes from orange zest, fresh orange juice and cranberries. Navel oranges work best for zesting since the skin is thick enough to grate. You can use fresh or frozen cranberries here – but if using frozen make sure not to thaw them first or the color will run.
Let’s talk about what makes this Cranberry Orange Loaf have the softest crumb and be super moist.
- We’re going to use a combo of butter and oil. Butter gives your bread that delicious buttery flavor and the oil keeps it moist. We don’t want to use 100% oil though or the loaf gets too greasy.
- Buttermilk and sour cream. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – buttermilk creates the softest crumb and sour cream acts as insurance against dry baked goods. These two baking super stars create the PERFECT texture for your loaf.
- Finally, be very careful to only mix together your wet & dry ingredients until just combined. Over mixing muffins & quick breads makes them tough. Carefully fold your wet and dry ingredients together with a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon – not your electric mixer.
This loaf comes together in no time for stress free holiday cooking. Then, it’ll bake in your oven for about 50 minutes to 1 hour. You’ll know it’s done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean or with just a few dry crumbs.
If you notice that the top of your loaf is starting to brown too much near the end, simply tent a piece of aluminium foil and place it on top of the loaf. Then once it’s baked and cooled – it’s time for the delicious glaze. It’s made with fresh orange juice for even more deliciousness.
Easy, super tasty holiday baking? Check!
Cranberry Orange Loaf
For the Loaf
- 2 and ¼ cups all-purpose flour , spooned and leveled
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup unsalted butter , melted and cooled
- 3 tablespoons canola oil , or vegetable oil
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs , room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
- ½ cup sour cream , room temperature
- ½ cup buttermilk , room temperature
- 1 and ½ cup chopped cranberries , tossed with 2 teaspoons of flour, fresh or frozen
For the Glaze
- 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
- 1 and ¼ to 1 and ½ cup icing sugar , sifted
- Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a 9x3x5 inch loaf pan with parchment paper, or grease and flour.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a separate large bowl using a hand-held or stand electric mixer, beat together the butter, oil and sugars on medium speed until combined (about 2 minutes). Add in the vanilla and eggs and continue beating (about 30 more seconds).
- Turn off the mixer and stir in the fresh orange juice, orange zest & sour cream. Then very carefully fold in the flour mixture until almost combined, followed by the buttermilk and cranberries using a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Only fold the batter together until it looks just combined - having a few lumps in the batter is ok.
- Pour/spoon the batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or unit an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the loaf pan.
- Once cooled make the glaze. Whisk together the fresh orange juice and the sifted icing sugar together until no lumps remain. Remove the loaf from its pan, and drizzle the glaze over top.