Cranberry Orange Bread

Cranberry Orange Bread Next to Oranges

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Clementines and oranges are some of my favorite fruits. I love how the tangy citrus sits on my tongue, and the refreshing smell of oranges always seems to perk me up.

And after trying a lemon poppy seed bread, I naturally wanted to try an orange bread of some kind. After little bit of searching, and a little bit of baking, I finally found a recipe that I wanted to share with you.

Sliced Cranberry orange bread next to clementines

Cranberry orange bread combines the light tangy flavor of orange zest with the subtley sweet and tart flavor of cranberry. The fruit not only provides a fun flavor, but it also adds a nice chew to this simple quick bread.

Although my bread did collapse a little bit in the middle during baking, I still love how it came out overall.

single slice of cranberry orange bread

With a little frosting, this bread turned from a yummy breakfast to a delicious dessert. Each slice was a delight to eat, and my family quickly finished it off.

Time

Prep time: 15 minutes
Rise time: None
Cook time: 50-60 minutes
Total time: Approximately 1 Hour 15 minutes (Plus 2 hours of cooling time)

Ingredients

Here’s what you’ll want to make this bread:

  • 180 Grams (1 1/2 Cups) Dried Cranberries
  • 2 Grams (2 Teaspoons) Orange Zest*
  • 112 Grams (1/2 Cup) Milk
  • 145 Grams (2/3 Cup) Vegetable Oil
  • 8 Grams (2 Teaspoons) Vanilla Extract
  • 4 Eggs
  • 360 Grams (3 Cups) All-Purpose Flour
  • 328 Grams (1 2/3 Cups) White Granulated Sugar
  • 6 Grams (1 Teaspoon) Salt
  • 12 Grams (2 Teaspoons) Baking Soda
  • 2 Grams (1/2 Teaspoon) Baking Powder

*I used zest from clementines. But you can use regular oranges or even lemons if that’s what you have on hand.

This recipe can make 1 large loaf, 2 medium loaves, or 4 mini loaves. Feel free to scale back (or double) the recipe as needed.

Additional Equipment

This isn’t an artisan-style bread recipe, so you don’t need any fancy tools or equipment to make this bread. You will, however, need a few standard items:

If you don’t want to make 2 medium loaves, you can opt for a larger 9-inch by 5-inch pan or four 5 and 3/4-inch by 3-inch pans.

Instructions

This fun bread comes together with almost no effort at all. In just a few steps, you can have delicious cranberry-orange bread ready to eat.

Move oven rack to lowest position to prevent the top of your bread from burning before the rest of it has finished baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and grease the bottom of your pans (or pan).

In a large bowl, combine the wet ingredients: milk, oil, vanilla, and eggs.

cranberry orange bread wet ingredients

In another bowl, mix the dry ingredients together: flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.

Mix the wet and dry ingredients. Then, stir in the cranberries and zest. Or, just toss everything in the same bowl at once like I did. It still turned out fine.

cranberry orange bread batter in a bowl

Pour the batter into your pan.

Divided cranberry orange bread batter in bread pans

Your baking time will vary depending on the size pan you use:

  • One 9-inch by 5-inch pan will cook for about 1 hour and 10 minutes
  • Two 8-inch by 4-inch pans will cook for about 50 minutes
  • Four 5-inch pans will cook for about 40 minutes

But no matter which pan you use, keep a close eye on your bread to make sure the tops don’t burn. If the tops look golden brown, insert a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean, your bread is done!

cranberry orange bread cooling in pans

Let your bread cool for 10 minutes before removing the bread from the pans. Allow the bread to cool completely (about 2 hours) on a wire rack before you cut and serve your bread.

cranberry orange bread cooling on wire rack

If you feel particularly indulgent, pipe buttercream icing over your bread after it has cooled. Then place a few dried cranberries on top for decoration.

Secrets to Success

After my lemon poppyseed fiasco, I worried about my cranberry orange bread. I wasn’t sure if I’d lose the bottom to my bread like I did with almost every other sweet bread I’ve tried.

But my husband bought me some new bread pans for Christmas, and I was excited to christen my pans with this new recipe. Lo and behold, my bread DID NOT STICK. Not once. I want to shout for joy with each success loaf.

If you struggle to get your bread out of your pans, take a few minutes to consider the quality of your pans rather than the quality of your recipe. I had my old bread pans for years and years, and I had assumed that I was a terrible baker as a result of my failed bread-making ventures. With new pans, I feel like a pro!

Unfortunately, new pans do not guarantee that your piping will be a success. I made some buttercream frosting using the following recipe:

  • 3 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Butter (Softened)
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon Milk

I used a hand mixer to combine everything until it became really thick. I had never piped before, so I thought thick frosting would stick to my bread better. It did not.

messed up piping on cranberry orange bread

I still laugh at this picture. I could not spread the frosting at all, so I patted it with my fingers and my attempts to fix the appearance made it even worse.

The second time around, I added a lot more milk until the icing because runny enough to work with. I spooned it into a Ziplock bag, trimmed a corner, and practiced piping on a piece of parchment paper until I felt more confident. The second time around went much better, though my piping is still a little messy. I’m sure with more practice I’ll get better.

On an unrelated side note for success, you can use fresh cranberries for this recipe. I like the chewiness of dried cranberries, but fresh berries lend a stronger flavor. To keep your cranberries from sinking to the bottom of your bread, rinse and dry them and toss them in the flour before adding them to the rest of the batter.

Nutritional Information

I couldn’t believe how much weight I gained over the holidays. But then, of course, I realized that I had eaten savory and sweet breads with reckless abandon. As part of my New Year’s resolution, I would love to lose some of the extra pounds, so I’m keeping track of nutritional information.

Here’s what you need to know about cranberry orange bread:

cranberry orange bread nutrition label

As with all my other recipes, my nutritional information isn’t as precise as the labels you’d find in a store. I guess based on online calculators. Your bread may vary depending on the size of your slices and whether you pipe frosting onto your bread.

Did You Try It?

I had a lot of fun making this recipe. I had never done piping before, and I was pleased with the overall look (and taste) of my cranberry orange bread. But I’d love to see what you do with this recipe. Did you try it with fresh or dried cranberries? Did you add a pinch of nutmeg for warmth? Perhaps you’d like to show off your piping skills?

Don’t hesitate to share your experience in the comments!