Cranberry Buttermilk Loaf

I love a versatile recipe. It’s fun to mix up fruits and flavors without having to sweat the details of flour, leavening, etc. This recipe makes a great tasting loaf no matter how I mix it up. Since the fat – butter in this case, though you can use vegetable oil of you prefer – is melted, no creaming is necessary and it only takes about 5 minutes to put together the batter. A very quick quick bread, no?

The loaf is a great choice for breakfast or paired with a cup of tea.I like the richness that using buttermilk adds to the bread The bread is a bit sturdy and holds up well to toasting. It’s not overly sweet, but provides a great backdrop for the bright, tart cranberries. The spices are mild, to enhance the flavor of the berries and the buttermilk without overwhelming the loaf. Don’t be intimidated by the length of the ingredient list, since they’re mostly spices. Keeping it wrapped, the bread stayed moist for a few days.

Cranberry Buttermilk Loaf

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk

2 tbsp melted butter

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

1 cup fresh cranberries, very coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease an 8×4 inch loaf pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
In a large bowl, thoroughly whisk together sugars, buttermilk, melted butter, vanilla extract and the egg. Add the flour in gradually, adding the cranberries with the last addition. The batter will be thick.
Spoon batter into prepared pan and smooth it with a spatula or knife.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.
Makes 1 loaf.


  1. And only 2T of fat, too, a rarity for quick breads. Looks lovely!

  2. Ok… I think I need to be on a ship to list! I love coming here because you post so regularly and it is all yummy baking… YUM!

  3. Yum, that bread looks good! I also love these versatile recipes that come together quick and produce delicious treat!
    One of my favorites of these quick breads is the one made with zucchini, it is so good and most people don’t even imagine it has zucchini in it!
    I like your blog a lot Nic!

  4. versatile bread! thanks!

  5. Cranberries – yum! I feel they are the one of the most underappreciated fruit. I wonder how this loaf would come out if you used whole wheat flour? Anyway, looks like another keeper which I’ll try when I return from the Thanksgiving holidays. Cheers!

  6. Ak – I know! Low fat quickbreads always make me happy.

    Chloe – Thanks for the kind words!

    Ana – Thanks, Ana. I love zucchini, too. Come to think of it, I haven’t made a zucchini bread in a while…

    Roka – My pleasure.

    Mari – You could try using half whole wheat flour, but it will definately change the texture, since this batter is already very thick. You might have to add more liquid, so I can’t predict what the results will be. If you can find whole wheat pastry flou, you might try that.

  7. Tried this one today and, after 45 minutes, the tester came out clean, but when I flipped the loaf out of the pan, the center was raw. Not sure about that 40-45 minute time, so I’m going to try it again tomorrow, but I’m giving it another 15 minutes.

    I’m disappointed, but I have to say the batter did taste yummy.

  8. I’m sorry about that, anonymous. I realise, looking over my notes, that I meant to write 45-50 minutes (now corrected). I’ll make it again myself to make sure this is correct. Hopefully it’ll turn out better in future!

  9. Nic,

    Thanks for the correction on that.

    I made it again today, let it bake for about 52 minutes, and it made all the difference in the world.

    I came back earlier today, and you were apparently updating the recipe so I couldn’t get to it at the time, but I wanted to let you know that it did come out fine the second time around.

    We look forward to slicing it up tomorrow. :)



  10. Hi Donna. I’m so glad that it turned out well this time. It really is a lovely tasting bread! Also, thank you for pointing out the error in my write up or the recipe. I wouldn’t have caught it until who knows when if you hadn’t alerted me!

  11. What a great site! I just found it accidentally while looking for a quickbread recipe, and now have you bookmarked.

    I made the cranberry buttermilk loaf tonight, baking it in two small loaf pans instead of one large. It took 50 minutes, but they came out perfect! It was all I could do not to eat a whole little loaf right away! I love the texture of the crust with the tender inside. Great recipe! And now in my own box as a “favorite.”

    Thanks again!

  12. I made this loaf x12 so I could hand them out to my fam for Thanksgiving- it was a hit. Love how it is spiced rather than sweet. (The only thing that ruins a cranberry for me is too have it over-sweetened.) Nice texture and very good with fresh butter.

    I didn’t understand your directions regarding the vanilla. Is it listed twice or did you mean the spice and the extract? I just put in a little more than 1 1/2 tsp of extract and the recipe turned out fabulously.

  13. Correction!

    I meant to say “more than 1 tsp, less than 1 1/2 tsp extract.”

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