This easy, one-bowl cranberry orange loaf cake uses just one large orange and can use fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries. No mixer needed!
Why you’ll love this cranberry loaf!
- Cranberry and orange is always a winning flavour combination. This easy and delicious cranberry loaf is great to have on the counter or it makes a great, “from the kitchen” gift that will always be appreciated.
- The texture of this loaf is moist, buttery, lightly sweet and just a bit crumbly, in all the right ways. And it’s chock full of cranberries, which is always a good thing in my books. On top of the lovely loaf is a sweet glaze, to balance the tart cranberries.
- And all this with just one bowl and no mixer needed!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Butter: You can use salted or unsalted butter here. It’s a fairly small quantity, but if you are using salted butter, you could reduce the amount of added salt just slightly.
Orange: The recipe is intended to start with one large, fresh orange, from which you will take the zest and then juice. Measure out the juice from that one orange, and then top up the measuring cup with water to reach the 3/4 cup.
You can use any kind of orange, but a large, Navel orange would be the most usual kind to use here. Other oranges are likely to be smaller in size, in which case you may wish to use two smaller oranges here. The amount of juice that you get from oranges should be somewhere around 1/2 cup.
Cranberries: You can use fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries here. If using frozen, no need to thaw them. I like to toss frozen cranberries in a bit of flour, then just add to the batter frozen. I also find loaves made with frozen cranberries take a little bit longer to bake, as the cold berries slow it just slightly.
You can use anywhere from 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups, depending on how much you like cranberries :) I used 1 1/2 cups of whole cranberries here.
While dried cranberries will work here, as they are generally sweetened, the over-all sweetness of this loaf would be quite increased.
Note that you will want your butter to be cold from the fridge. To incorporate the cold butter with the flour mixture, I like to just use my fingertips, rubbing/breaking up the cold butter into the flour until I have an even, crumbly mixture with no large chunks of butter. Aim for a finished mixture resembling coarse corn meal.
Be sure you are measuring your flour using the “Stir, Spoon and Level” method, for most accuracy and best results. That basically means …
1. Stir the flour in the container.
2. Use a large spoon to spoon the flour into a 1 cup dry measuring cup (generally metal or plastic cups), overfilling/allowing the flour to form a mound on top of the measuring cup then
3. Run the back, flat edge of a knife evenly across the top of the measuring cup, allowing the excess to fall back into your flour container.
You never want to scoop flour directly out of the flour bag, as it is quite compacted and you will end up adding more flour to your recipe that actually called for.
Note that the recipe specifies that the egg be “well beaten” before adding to the other liquid ingredients. This is because we want to stir the batter as little as possible after combining the wet and dry ingredients. If the egg isn’t beaten beforehand, you would have to do a lot more stirring to mix it in. Pre-beating it prevents over-mixing. Beating an egg like this is just really mixing it well with a fork in a small bowl.
Get the Recipe: Easy One-Bowl Cranberry Orange Loaf
- 2 cups (240 g) all purpose flour
- 1 cup (190 g) white granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup (57 g) butter, cold, salted or unsalted
- Zest of 1 large orange
- 3/4 cup (170 ml) freshly squeezed orange juice, from 1 large orange, plus water, as needed *See Note 1 below
- 1 large egg, well beaten before adding *See Note 2 below
- 1 – 1 1/2 cup raw cranberries, whole or chopped, fresh or frozen
- 1 cup (140 g) icing/confectioners’ sugar
- 1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice, or water, if you don’t have any more oranges
- 1/4 teaspoon orange zest, optional
- Preheat oven to 350F (regular bake setting/not fan assisted), with rack in the centre of the oven. Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan and set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into 4 pieces and add to the dry ingredients. Using your fingertips, rub the cold butter into the flour mixture, breaking it up as you go, until you have an evenly crumbly mixture resembling corn meal.
- Remove the zest from the orange and set aside for now. In a 2-cup measuring cup, add the juice from the orange. Add enough water to the measuring cup to fill up to the 3/4 cup mark. add the orange zest and the well beaten egg to the measuring cup and stir to combine. Pour the orange juice mixture all at once into the dry ingredients. Using a wooden spoon, mix together just enough to dampen all the flour. Gently stir in the cranberries. (I like to dust frozen cranberries with a tiny bit of flour before adding to the dough).
- Spoon the batter into a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan and bake in preheated oven for about 1 hour, or until a tester inserted in the centre comes out clean. (Starting with frozen cranberries may need a few extra minutes of baking. Also note that darker pans will bake more quickly. So watch closely near the end of baking, but don't be afraid to bake a little longer, if needed).
- Allow the loaf to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the side of the pan and turn out/remove from pan and allow to cool completely on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cooled completely, prepare glaze by stirring together the glaze ingredients until smooth. Place a piece of waxed paper or paper towel under the cooling rack to catch drips, then spoon the glaze over the cooled loaf, spooning it onto the top and letting it run down the side. Allow to stand until the glaze sets (about 30 minutes) before slicing.
- If starting with 1 large, fresh orange, first remove the zest from the orange, then squeeze all the juice from the orange into a measuring cup. Add enough additional water until it measures 3/4 cup. One large orange will typically yield about 1/2 cup of fresh orange juice.
- The recipe specified that the egg be “well beaten” before adding to the other liquid ingredients. This is because we want to stir the batter as little as possible after combining the wet and dry ingredients. If the egg isn’t beaten beforehand, you would have to do a lot more stirring to mix it in. Pre-beating it prevents over-mixing.
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Hi! I’m Jennifer, a home cook schooled by trial and error and almost 40 years of getting dinner on the table! I love to share my favourite recipes, both old and new, together with lots of tips and tricks to hopefully help make your home cooking enjoyable, stress free, rewarding and of course, delicious!