Light and fluffy Cranberry Bread is the perfect sweet treat at Christmas time. Bursts of cranberries with zesty orange in a moist, buttery and fluffy sweet bread, that is drizzled with icing to finish it off. Like banana bread, but with a festive twist and all made in one bowl.
About this cranberry bread recipe
We love loaf cakes. They are simple to make, so easy to adapt with different fruit and nuts and the are the perfect little afternoon treat with a cup of coffee for 5 minutes peace.
This cranberry orange bread has the perfect Christmas flavour combination of cranberry and orange and it makes a lovely homemade gift at Christmas time too.
This orange cranberry bread is such an easy bread to make and it is ready in just an hour, plus cooling time. If you can't get through all this cranberry bread, then it freezes really well too.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Cranberries - We used fresh cranberries, however you can use frozen instead, and there is no need to defrost them first.
- Oranges - Zest and juice go into this cranberry bread to make it deliciously citrusy.
- Plain flour, baking powder and baking soda
- Caster sugar - This adds more volume to the cranberry bread, and gives it a light and fluffy texture. If you don't have caster, then you can grind up granulated sugar in a food processor for a couple of minutes and use that instead.
- Spices - We used cinnamon and nutmeg and they are the perfect Christmas spice combination. You could use some ginger too.
- Egg - We used large eggs that were at room temperature (just leave them out for 30 minutes). Use room temperature eggs because they are easier to mix evenly and you will get a better volume cake.
- Butter - For best results, use room temperature butter (that is still a little cool to touch) as this will ensure and even consistency of the bread.
- Icing sugar - This is what is mixed with orange juice to make the icing drizzle.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make cranberry bread - Step by step
Prep: Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C(fan)/350°F/Gas 4.
One: In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Two: In a separate bowl, mix together the butter, sugar, egg, orange juice and zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon.
Three: Gently stir in the cranberries.
Four: Grease a 9x5 inch (22.5 x 12.5 cm) loaf tin. Pour the batter into the tin and cook in the oven for 1 hour, until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for at least 20 minutes.
Five: Run a knife around the edge of the tin to loosen the loaf and then turn out onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely.
Six: Make the icing by mixing together the icing sugar, orange juice and zest until smooth.
Seven: Drizzle over the loaf and allow to set before slicing the loaf.
We have made a really simple orange icing with icing sugar, orange juice and zest and poured it all over the top of the cranberry orange bread.
However, if you prefer something a little more substantial on top of it, then you could make a cream cheese frosting to spread on it. Just make sure that it is full of orange flavour. We prefer the icing, as it isn't as heavy as buttercream.
Not only could you swap the icing for a cream cheese frosting, but we have some other ways that you could adapt it too. You can add some chopped walnuts to make a cranberry walnut bread or pecans or flaked almonds in which add a nice texture to the bread.
We love anything that we can add chocolate to, and dark, milk or white chocolate chips (or all three) work really well in this cranberry bread recipe.
You can also use this recipe to make delicious muffins. Divide the mixture into 12 muffin cases and bake for around 25-30 minutes, until a knife comes out clean.
Store: You can store the bread wrapped and in an air tight container. It will store in an air tight container for 3-4 days.
Freeze: You can freeze cranberry bread, but make sure you haven't added any icing, as that doesn't really freeze well. Wrap slices of it in baking paper and store in freezer bag. They will keep well for up to 4 weeks.
No, there is no need to cook the cranberries before adding them to the mixture.
We have used fresh cranberries, as they add lots of moisture to the bread and add a nice burst of flavour. However, you can swap them for dried cranberries if you prefer. If you are using dried cranberries, then soak them first as this makes them a bit juicer. You can then use the soaking liquid to make the icing.
You can also use frozen cranberries too, and there is no need to defrost them.
If you don't have the same loaf tin that we have used, then you can use 2 1lb loaf tins instead. Cooking time would reduce to about 35 -40 minutes. You can then either freeze one loaf (sliced) or wrap it up for a nice homemade Christmas gift.
If you bread sinks when it comes out of the oven, there could be a couple of different issues. Firstly, make sure that your measurements are exact. We bake in metric and the imperial conversion should be used as a guide and might not be exact. Make sure your baking powder isn't expired and also be careful not to over mix the dough. Use a oven thermometer to make sure your oven is getting to the exact temperature.
Sprinkle a teaspoon of flour over the cranberries and mix together before adding to the dough. This will prevent the cranberries from sinking to the bottom of the bread.
More cranberry recipes
For the bread:
- 100 g (1 cups) Fresh cranberries
- 1 Orange - (juice and zest only)
- 70 g (0.33 cups) Butter
- 200 g (1 cups) Caster sugar
- 250 g (2 cups) Plain flour - all purpose
- 1.5 teaspoon Baking powder
- 0.5 teaspoon Baking soda
- 0.5 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 0.5 teaspoon Ground nutmeg
- 1 Egg
For the orange drizzle:
- 120 g (1 cups) Icing sugar
- 2 tablespoon Orange juice
- 0.5 Orange - (zest only)
- Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C(fan)/350°F/Gas 4. Grease a 9x5 inch (22.5 x 12.5 cm) loaf tin.
- In a large bowl, mix together 250 g Plain flour, 1.5 teaspoon Baking powder, 0.5 teaspoon Baking soda, 0.5 teaspoon Cinnamon and 0.5 teaspoon Ground nutmeg.
- In a separate bowl, mix together 70 g Butter, 200 g Caster sugar, 1 Eggand the juice and zest of 1 Orange.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon.
- Gently stir in 100 g Fresh cranberries.
- Pour the batter into the greased tin and cook in the oven for 1 hour, until a skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for at least 20 minutes.
- Once cooked, run a knife around the edge of the tin to loosen the loaf and then turn out onto a cooling rack. Allow to cool completely.
- Make the icing by mixing together 120 g Icing sugar and the zest of 0.5 Orange. Slowly add 2 tablespoon Orange juice until smooth. Don't let the icing get too thin.
- Drizzle over the loaf and allow to set before slicing the loaf.
- You can use salted or unsalted butter in this recipe. We haven't added any salt to the mix, so using salted butter won't make it overly salty.
- We have used the juice of an orange. However, we have also added the measurement for the liquid, as the juiciness of an orange can vary greatly.
- You can use frozen cranberries in this recipe too, and they don't need to be defrosted first.
- Add the egg already beaten to the bowl. This prevents you from having to over mix the batter.
- Add a little extra texture to this bread by mixing some crushed walnuts or pecans in.
- For a richer flavour, you can use half caster sugar and half brown sugar.
- If the top of your bread starts to get too brown, but it's still not cooked through, then you can loosely put some foil on top.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.