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Orange Cranberry Bread

orange cranberry bread

Orange Cranberry Bread is one of my go-to quick breads that I make several times every year. I make it for myself, for my family, for gifts and for no good reason at all, just to share with friends. It is quick, easy and really outstanding as far as flavor goes.

I first started making it when I was little – very little – using a recipe that my mom liked. It was never my favorite bread, but since I liked to bake, I just kept on going with her recipe. Her recipe was not sweet enough and there was nothing to temper the tartness of the cranberries, so I rarely ate any. Over time, I realized that it was silly to keep baking this bread that I didn’t really care for and I began to tinker with the recipe, comparing it to recipes that I had seen elsewhere, and to alter the ingredients slightly to get a better flavor overall.

The result is this loaf. It is very moist and tender, but not too heavy or dense. It satisfies, like a good slice of coffee cake, when you eat it. The two tricks – in my opinion – to getting an excellent loaf here are using only freshly squeeze orange juice and adding in some dried cranberries in addition to fresh or frozen. Fresh oranges will give you the best orange flavor for your juice and allow you to get plenty of zest into your batter. The dried cranberries are a bit sweeter than undried, so they’ll punch up the flavor, as well.

Orange Cranberry Bread
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 tbsp orange zest
2 tbsp canola oil
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen (unthawed) cranberries
1/4 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 375F and lightly grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add in in orange juice, orange zest, oil and egg and mix until just combined. Stir in whole and dried cranberries. Spread evenly in loaf pan.
Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely before slicing.

Makes 1 loaf.

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  • Niki
    February 5, 2005

    I find nothing is better than sunlight. I try not to take any photos after the sun has set. Even if it’s a cloudy day, it improves the photo so much.
    Also, I use the macro function on my camera (most have this function). It usually has a picture of a tulip or flower; it makes excellent close ups.
    I spend hardly any time setting up or taking my photos cos I’m a really impatient sort of person, and yet I’m usually really happy with how they turn out. Maybe it’s the camera, but I find it’s difficult to take a bad photo using those two techniques.
    Oh yeah – and flashes are nasty!
    i like your recipe; we’ve just started getting frozen cranberries available (fresh are nearly impossible to find in Aus), so I’m keen to try them out!

  • Nic
    February 5, 2005

    I try to use the macro function, too. My father told me that his digital camera actually has a food setting! I’ll have to look into that when I’m in the market for a new camera.

  • ejm
    February 6, 2005

    Nic, your photo is great – and good idea to cut the bread to display the cranberries in all their glory. Your recipe reminded me that we have a naval orange or two lying in the fridge and you have inspired me to make our orange date bread. Our recipe uses the whole orange and orange juice as well. Those cranberries look like a wonderful addition so I think I will use half dried cranberries and half dates as well as some cranberries. Thanks for nudging me to use up that orange! -Elizabeth

    P.S. You have blood oranges?! I’m so envious. Have you made blood orange sorbet? (I haven’t… but I’ve tasted it and it’s fantastic)

  • Nic
    February 6, 2005

    I have made blood orange sorbet. I posted about it somewhere on here.
    Naval oranges are my favorite eating oranges – I love their flavor. I’ve also never heard of using an entire orange in a bread recipe, but I am intrigued! I will definately have to try it.

  • ejm
    February 7, 2005

    I raced down to the kitchen after seeing your post about orange cranberry loaf and was devastated to see that there was only one shrivelled and very sad looking orange in the fridge. It was so sad that I had to compost it. But on the way back from a bikeride, we stopped at a greengrocer to get some naval oranges (no blood oranges that I could see). I made the bread last night. It’s sooooo good!! Do give it a shot.

  • ejm
    February 7, 2005

    Ah, so you did!! (I have only recently really discovered the wonderful world of foodblogging)


  • Nic
    February 7, 2005

    I’m so glad that you liked the bread, Elizabeth!

  • laura
    January 20, 2006

    I just tried this recipe for a brunch and it was such a success. Thanks for inspiration – everyone loved it

  • cara
    January 2, 2007

    very tasty! big hit

  • Quen
    February 28, 2007

    Thank you for this wonderful, simple recipe. Also, greatly appreciated the pic. Have already made a dozen loaves, including a banana bread alternative. Just sub 3/4 cup banana nectar plus 3 small, ripe bananas for the OJ, zest and cranberries. Very nice result. Thanks again!

  • JEP
    December 23, 2007

    Oh yum! Sounds like an ideal holiday addition to my recipe file!

  • Ella
    March 18, 2008

    I made this and now I literally DREAM about it – it was that good! I had never used fresh cranberries in baked goods before and now I need to make up for lost time! The tangy-sweet yumminess is so delicious! Ok – that’s a lot of exclamation points, but it really was fantastic.

  • Monique
    November 23, 2008

    Hi, I loved the recipe, it tasted fresh and after more!
    Greetings from the Netherlands!!

  • ttfn300
    December 4, 2008

    just made some mini loaves for holiday gifts, they turned out fantastic 🙂

  • Martha - Abitura
    January 8, 2009

    Every baker and even the best ones should take lessons from you thus much everything is up-to-date. I will surely try to redone this magical recipe and I hope – I’ll do it without fail. Also I would like to thank you for initializing us to your family business, because, you know, it is really valuable especially from such person as you are.

  • avecgourmandise
    January 31, 2009

    Thank you for the recipe, I had wanted to try this for a long time and had a chance to do that today. I posted about it, along with your recipe, I hope it’s ok with you (please let me know otherwise). I enjoyed the bread very much. Thanks again.

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    August 5, 2009

    What I was doing clearly wasn’t working and I was ready for a change.;

  • battery charger
    August 29, 2009

    Thanks for this lovely recipe…I tried it and it produce some great results.My kid liked it too much and i got appreciation from every one who had it.Is there any way to make make it more soft or I did anything wrong while making it??

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  • Gabismo
    April 3, 2010

    I need to try this right away! I’ve been dreaming of the cranberry orange muffin I had last week on a trip to NY.. do you think this recipe would suit for muffins? It sounds absolutely fabulous. Also I can’t get the idea out of my head of maybe soaking the cranberries in the OJ for a few hours before using (blame my addiction to rum-soaked raisins for that)!

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