This Cranberry Orange Bread is loaded with fresh cranberries and orange zest and topped with a sweet orange glaze and sparkling sugared cranberries. This easy to make cranberry orange bread recipe is moist, has a tender crumb and it’s the perfect quick bread to serve for breakfast, dessert and during the holidays.
This delicious cranberry orange loaf has such a wonderful light texture and the tart cranberries pair beautifully with the sweet citrus orange. This easy cranberry bread is definitely bursting with flavor.
The beautiful and delicious sparkling candied cranberries give this fresh cranberry bread a festive look, making it a great quick bread recipe to serve during the holidays or to give as gifts to family and friends.
What’s A Quick Bread?
Quick bread is a bread made without yeast. It usually contains a leavening agent like baking powder or baking soda. Rising time is not needed, therefore the name “quick bread”. Their texture are more cake loa like than chewy or crusty bread.
Cranberry Orange Loaf Ingredients
For the Cranberry Orange Bread:
- Cake Flour, Baking Powder and Salt.
- Orange (zest)
- Granulated Sugar
- Unsalted Butter
- Fresh Cranberries
For the Glaze:
- Confectioner’s Sugar
- Orange Juice
- Sugared Cranberries (optional but highly recommended)
- Orange Zest
How To Make This Cranberry Orange Bread Recipe
This moist orange cranberry bread is made of three parts, the bread, the glaze and the garnish which is optional but highly recommended. The glaze should be very thick and barely pourable so it sticks to the bread without running off. For detailed instructions, check the recipe card below.
- Preheat the oven and prepare the loaf pan.
- Make the orange zest and sugar mixture: Process orange peel and sugar in a food processor until finely ground.
- Make the bread batter: In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and the orange sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the flour mixture in thirds alternately with the buttermilk. Beat until well blended. With a spatula, fold in the fresh cranberries, then turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing out the top.
- Bake: Bake on the center rack for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it.
- Cool: Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Set the bread on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely before glazing.
- Make the glaze: In a bowl, wish together the confectioner’s sugar with 2-3 tablespoons of the orange juice. The glaze should be very thick and barely pourable. Spread the glaze over the cooled bread.
- Garnish: Top with the candied cranberries (recipe below in the recipe card) and orange zest.
This tasty quick bread tastes delicious by itself without the glaze and garnish but, for a delicious showstopper both are a great addition.
Can I Use Frozen Cranberries To Make Cranberry Bread?
Yes, you can use fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries. There are many times of the year when finding fresh cranberries is absolutely impossible. In those times, simply get frozen cranberries.
Storing and Freezing
You can keep the bread at room temperature for 1 to 2 days. Store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
This orange cranberry bread freezes well. You can freeze the bread glazed or unglazed for 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving or glazing (if needed).
Can Buttermilk Be Frozen For Later Use?
Yes, buttermilk freezes well. I always have buttermilk left over when baking. Thankfully, buttermilk can be store in the freezer for up to 3 months. I like to portion it out so when ready, I can remove smaller portions from the freezer. An ice cube tray works well for this task.
Best Cranberry Orange Loaf Recipe Tips
- For best results, cream the butter and orange sugar mixture well. The butter/ orange sugar mixture should be very light and fluffy. This gives the cake a tender crumb.
- If you don’t have cake flour at home, don’t worry, you can make your own at home. To make your own cake flour, for every cup of flour, remove 2 tablespoons and replace it with corn starch. Easy peasy!
- If your bread is getting too dark in the oven, loosely cover it with a piece of aluminum foil.
Take A Look At These Other Easy Cranberry Recipes:
- Skillet Pork Chops with Port Wine and Cranberries
- Baked Brie with Cranberries in Puff Pastry
- Cranberry Maple Bourbon Cocktail
- White Chocolate Dipped Cranberries Oatmeal Cookies
Follow me on social media for more recipe ideas & inspiration!
CRANBERRY ORANGE BREAD
- 1 3/4 cups cake flour see notes
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 orange
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 3 large eggs at room temperature
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup heaped fresh cranberries, rinsed, pat dry and roughly chopped (it is OK to leave some cranberries whole)
- 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
- 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice or more as needed
- sugared cranberries recipe below
- grated orange zest optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9×5 loaf pan and line it with parchment paper with an overhang so you can easily lift the bread out when ready to glaze.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- To zest the orange, using a vegetable peeler, peel the orange part of the peel only. You do not want the white pith part as is very bitter.
- In a food processor (I use a mini food processor), process the orange peel and sugar until the peel is finely ground. This should be quick, about a minute. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and the orange sugar until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
- With the mixer on medium-low, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition
- With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture in thirds alternately with the buttermilk, starting and finishing with the flour mixture and scraping down the sides of the bowl to combine. Beat until just blended.
- With a spatula, fold in the cranberries, then turn the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing out the top.
- Bake on the center rack for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it (moist crumbs are fine.) If the cake seems to be browning too quickly, loosely lay a sheet of foil over the top.
- Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then remove it, by lifting the bread using the parchment paper handles. Set the bread on a cooling rack and allow it to cool completely before glazing.
- Meanwhile, make the glaze. The glaze should be quite thick and barely pourable. In a bowl, wish together the confectioner’s sugar with 2-3 tablespoons of the orange juice. Add additional orange juice until the desired consistency is reached.
- Spread the glaze over the cooled bread.
- Top with orange zest and sugared cranberries.
SPARKLING SUGARED CRANBERRIES Only ½ of the recipe is needed to garnish the bread
- 2 cups sugar, divided
- 12 ounces fresh cranberries
- To Make the Sparkling Sugar Cranberries
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine ½ cup of water and ½ cup of sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in the cranberries until well coated. Let them sit in the syrup for 30 minutes.
- With a slotted spoon transfer to a parchment paper lined baking sheet and let them dry for at least 1 hour.
- Roll the cranberries in the remaining 1 ½ cup of sugar until well coated. Let them dry for about an hour.
- To make your own cake flour, for every cup of flour, remove 2 tablespoons and replace it with corn starch. Mix to combine.