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Cranberry Orange Loaf Cake

Cranberry Orange Loaf Cake is an easy pound cake recipe to make for any day of the week and festive and delicious enough for the holidays.

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Cranberry orange loaf cake, sliced on a board, wood knife.

Loaf cakes and sweet bread recipes are great to bake and share for the holidays and this cranberry cake with sweet orange glaze is so festive.

Why You Will Love this Cranberry Orange Cake

  • Easy Recipe: This sweet cranberry orange bread is so simple to make with pantry ingredients and is great for the winter season. If using dried cranberries it can be made any time of year. 
  • Delicious Flavor Combination:  The tart cranberries pair perfectly with the sweet orange cake for the perfect treat that everyone loves.
  • Makes a Great Gift: A homemade loaf cake is a thoughtful gift. It is a great way to fill your Christmas goodie baskets or cookie trays. 
Plate with slice of cranberry cake, orange slices and fresh cranberries.

Ingredients for Cranberry Orange Loaf Cake Recipe

Walnut Filling

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Cake

  • Granulated Sugar
  • Fresh Orange Zest from a large orange
  • Butter – salted butter or unsalted butter at room temperature.
  • Large Eggs
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Orange Extract – This is optional but adds the sweet orange flavor to the cake. 
  • Buttermilk
  • All purpose flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Fine salt
  • Cranberries – We are using dried cranberries but if you have fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries that works great too.

Orange Glaze

  • Fresh Orange Juice
  • Powdered Sugar

Step-By-Step Directions for Cranberry Orange Cake

Collage making cake batter with orange zest.
  1. Add sugar to a mixer bowl and zest an orange into the sugar. Mix together with your fingers until well combined.
  2. Add softened butter to the sugar mixture and beat at medium speed about 2 minutes.
  3. Mix in the eggs, one a time until combined. Add vanilla extract and orange extract, mix until combined.
Making orange cake batter with buttermilk.
  1. Add half of the buttermilk, mixing well.
  2. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, mix just until combined.
  3. Add remaining buttermilk and mix well.
Collage chopping cranberries, adding to cake batter.
  1. Coarsely chop the dried cranberries. Fold into the cake batter.
Collage making walnut and brown sugar filling for cake.
  1. Add chopped walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon to a bowl and mix well.
Collage filling loaf pan orange cranberry cake with walnut filling.
  1. Line a 9 x 5 loaf pan with parchment paper or spray well with non-stick spray.
  2. Spoon half of the cake batter into the lined pan and spread evenly.
  3. Sprinkle with walnut filling.
  4. Spoon remaining cake batter over the walnuts and spread evenly.
Baked loaf cake, cooling on wire rack, glaze, glazed cake.
  1. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is golden brown.
  2. Remove from oven and cool in the pan 5 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  3. In a small bowl combine orange juice and powdered sugar with a whisk until smooth.
  4. Spoon over the cake.
Slice of cranberry cake on a plate, loaf in background.
  1. Slice orange cake with a serrated knife and serve.

Recipe Variations for Cranberry Orange Loaf

  • Fresh Cranberries: Fresh cranberries work well in this recipe and frozen cranberries work will too. Thaw whole cranberries, drain before chopping and mixing into the batter.
  • Nuts: Use any kind of nuts that you have on hand like pecans or pistachios. Skip the nuts if preferred.
  • Buttemilk Substitute: If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, use a scant 1/2 cup whole milk mixed 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice.
  • Glaze: The glaze is optional but adds more orange flavor to the loaf.
  • Mini Loaves: Fill mini loaf pans 3/4 full and bake for 22- 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

How to Store Loaf Cake

  • Storage: Wrap cooled cake in plastic wrap at room temperature 2-3 days.
  • Freeze: Wrap the entire loaf cake or individual slices in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag or wrap in aluminum foil up to 3 months. 

More Loaf Cake Recipes to Bake

  • Apple Fritter Cake is one of our most requested recipes and it’s so delicious with layers of apple and cinnamon and vanilla cake.
  • Lemon Zucchini Cake is a moist and delicious cake filled with tons of lemon flavor.
  • Coconut Pound Cake is a coconut lovers dream and so easy to make for any day of the week.
Closeup of cranberry orange cake slice.

Add this Cranberry Orange Loaf Cake to your baking list for a sweet treat that is so easy to make for any time of year. A delicious quick bread recipe that is just perfect for the holiday season. 

Yield: 1 Loaf Cake

Cranberry Orange Loaf Cake

Cranberry orange loaf cake with a slice in front.

Cranberry Orange Loaf Cake is an easy pound cake recipe to make for any day of the week and festive and delicious enough for the holidays.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients

for the cake

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • zest from a large orange
  • 1/2 cup softened butter (salted or unsalted)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon orange extract
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 cup chopped cranberries (dried, fresh or frozen)

for the walnut filling

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts, pecans or pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

for the orange glaze

  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Add sugar to a mixer bowl and zest an orange into the sugar. Mix together with your fingers until well combined.
  3. Add softened butter to the sugar mixture and beat at medium speed about 2 minutes. 
  4. Mix in the eggs, one a time until combined. Add vanilla extract and orange extract, mix until combined.
  5. Add half of the buttermilk, mixing well. 
  6. Add the flour, baking powder and salt, mix just until combined.
  7. Add remaining buttermilk and mix well. 
  8. Coarsely chop the cranberries. Fold into the cake batter. 
  9. Add chopped walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon to a bowl and mix well. 
  10. Line a 9 x 5 loaf pan with parchment paper or spray well with non-stick spray. 
  11. Spoon half of the cake batter into the lined pan and spread evenly.
  12. Sprinkle with walnut filling. 
  13. Spoon remaining cake batter over the walnuts and spread evenly.
  14. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is golden brown.
  15. Remove from oven and cool in the pan 5 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  16. In a small bowl combine orange juice and powdered sugar with a whisk until smooth.
  17. Spoon glaze over the cake. 
  18. Slice orange cake with a serrated knife and serve.

Notes

Variations

  • Fresh Cranberries: Fresh cranberries work well in this recipe and frozen cranberries work will too. Thaw whole cranberries, drain before chopping and mixing into the batter.
  • Nuts: Use any kind of nuts that you have on hand like pecans or pistachios. Skip the nuts if preferred. 
  • Buttermilk Substitute: If you don't have buttermilk on hand, use a scant 1/2 cup  whole milk mixed 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice.
  • Glaze: The glaze is optional but adds more orange flavor to the loaf. 
  • Mini Loaves: Fill mini loaf pans 3/4 full and bake for 22- 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • How to Store Loaf Cake

    • Storage: Wrap cooled cake in plastic wrap at room temperature 2-3 days. 
    • Freeze: Wrap the entire loaf cake or individual slices in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag or wrap in aluminum foil up to 3 months. 

    Nutrition Information:

    Yield:

    12

    Serving Size:

    1

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 265Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 188mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 1gSugar: 26gProtein: 4g

    Nutritional calculations are estimated and may not be accurate.

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