Fresh cranberries add a sweet-tart brightness to this orange-scented bread. Top it with cinnamon streusel & orange glaze for a real treat!
I've rediscovered my fondness for the taste of fresh cranberries.
They're readily available in the days leading up to Thanksgiving and on through the December holidays, but you don't really see them outside that time.
I just like to give fresh cranberries a chance to shine, and a fresh cranberry bread recipe is another seasonal favorite.
I love cooking, and especially baking, with fresh cranberries because of their burst of sweet-tart flavor. Cranberry Sauce? Much better made with fresh cranberries, and a whole lot better than the canned stuff, to be sure!
Glazed Orange Cranberry Bread really allows those fresh cranberries to show off. It's another showstopper of the Autumn baking season.
Cranberry Bread, improved
Orange Cranberry Bread recipes are good. I want mine to be great.
Oranges and cranberries were made for each other. The citrus sweetness balances the cranberries' tartness perfectly. And the sweet orange glaze brings it all together.
I add Fiori di Sicilia to scent the bread and glaze with a subtle orange vanilla essence. If you prefer, you can substitute one teaspoon of vanilla extract and two teaspoons of orange zest in the batter.
I also use sweet cream buttermilk powder rather than fresh. I normally don't have fresh buttermilk on hand, and this staple keeps well in my pantry. Don't worry if you don't have the buttermilk powder or fresh buttermilk available. I'll give you a couple of substitution ideas below.
This quick bread also has the added bonus of a cinnamon streusel because, well...it's streusel! It adds a nice texture to this sweet, moist cake. And for added crunch, you can add ½ cup of chopped pecans or walnuts to the batter.
Lastly, you can always substitute one cup dried cranberries instead of the fresh cranberries if they aren't available, like I did for my Glazed Orange Cranberry Scones.
Steps to making a quick bread recipe
Since this recipe for Glazed Orange Cranberry Bread is a quick bread, it comes together...uhm...quickly.
Start with the streusel topping. The method is very similar to making biscuits in that you start with a flour mixture that you then add butter to until you get something resembling pea-sized crumbs.
It's important to keep the streusel chilled after you make it. That keeps it from melting into the batter while the bread is baking. Just keep it in the refrigerator while you make the cake batter.
Make the cake batter by whisking the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients separately, then folding them together.
When whisking the sugars into the egg, stir it well so you don't have any brown sugar lumps.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, trying not to overmix the batter.
After you've poured the cake batter into your prepared pan, crumble the chilled streusel topping evenly and press it down gently so it sticks but doesn't melt as the bread bakes.
When the bread has cooled, it's time to make the glaze. I sift the powdered sugar first so I don't have to chase down lumps.
It's fun to let the glaze drip off the sides of the bread, but not to clean up the counter after. Put a paper towel under the cooling rack to catch the drips. Whether you choose to try and sample them is entirely up to you. I won't judge.
Tips for replacing fresh buttermilk in recipes
As I said earlier, I don't keep fresh buttermilk on hand as I don't use it that often.
That's why I like using sweet cream buttermilk powder. I can whisk the dry powder in with the dry ingredients, then add the correct amount of water in with the wet. The flavor is as close to fresh buttermilk as you can get.
If that's not an option for you, there are two ways to replace one cup of fresh buttermilk in a recipe:
- Whisk ½ cup cold water with ½ cup sour cream or plain yogurt until smooth
- Measure one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice into a measuring cup, then add enough milk until it reaches one cup. Stir and let the mixture sit for five minutes
The flavor may not be exactly like fresh buttermilk, but the acid needed to activate baking soda is present, and many times that's all you really are looking to get.
Make Orange Cranberry Bread for yourself or for gift giving
Glazed Orange Cranberry Bread is wonderfully moist and delicious. Sweet orange aroma surrounds you while the bright cranberries add bursts of their sweet-tart goodness. The glaze brings orange and vanilla to the mix, and the cinnamon streusel adds just the right amount of spice.
Together, all these flavors make one yummy treat for brunch or dessert. Plus, it's pretty to boot!
This bread stays fresh at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week. For longer storage, you can freeze the unglazed bread for up to 3 months. Allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before glazing and serving.
To make muffins with this batter, just fill the wells of a standard muffin pan ⅔ full. Top with the streusel as above, then bake at 350°F for around 20 minutes. Allow to cool and glaze.
Baking for the holidays
One December, I brought this Glazed Orange Cranberry Bread into work. Hey, I was new on the job and I want them to like me. It got rave reviews!
One of my co-workers actually said, "My Mother-in-law makes Cranberry Bread every year at Christmas, but I didn't like hers at all. I didn't think I liked Cranberry Bread, but I love this one!"
I replied, "I promise I won't tell her."
With that ringing endorsement, I encourage you to give this yummy tea bread a try. It will brighten your holidays and bring joy to your heart (or to your mouth, which is even better).
Wishing everyone a sweet, delicious holiday season. May good aromas come from your oven!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
Recipes for quick breads & bundt cakes
Most quick bread & muffin recipes can be made as bundt cakes, and vice versa.
Other options using a recipe that makes one loaf in a standard loaf pan are 4 mini breads in mini loaf pans, 12 muffins in a standard muffin pan, or 24 muffin bites in a mini muffin pan. Great for breakfast or gift giving!
You can also adjust the recipe you're using (doubling or halving it) to fit the pan you'd like to use. Don't be limited to one shape for a recipe!
Glazed Orange Cranberry Bread
For the streusel
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, cold, cubed
For the cake
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp sweet cream buttermilk powder, see Recipe Notes
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen (no need to thaw), see Recipes Notes
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar, light or dark, packed
- 1 cup water, see Recipe Notes
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- 2 Tbsp orange juice
- ½ tsp Fiori di Sicilia, see Recipe Notes
For the glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 to 2 Tbsp orange juice
- ¼ tsp Fiori di Sicilia
- Make the streusel: Whisk the flour, sugar, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Cut in the cold butter using a fork or your hands until the mixture resembles pea-sized crumbs. Place the streusel in the refrigerator while you make the batter.
- Make the batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, buttermilk powder, baking soda, and salt. Fold in the cranberries, and set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg lightly, then add in brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until it's smooth (with no lumps of brown sugar hiding in there). Whisk in the water, oil, orange juice, and Fiori di Sicilia.
- Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently whisk until there are no more lumps, trying not to overmix the batter.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Top evenly with the streusel, pressing it down gently into the top of the bread so it sticks.
- Bake the bread for 45 to 60 minutes, covering loosely with foil about halfway through to ensure even browning. Use a cake tester or toothpick to check for doneness...if it comes out clean, the bread is done.
- Remove the pan from oven and cool on a wire cooling rack for 15 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and cool completely on the rack.
- Make the glaze: In a small bowl, sift the powdered sugar to remove any lumps. Add 1 tablespoon of the orange juice along with the Fiori di Sicilia and stir until you get a thick glaze. Adjust the consistency by adding more orange juice as needed. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled bread and allow to set a few minutes.
- Slice, serve, and enjoy!
- Substitute a mixture of ½ cup cold water and ½ cup sour cream or plain yogurt
- Measure 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup, then add enough milk until it reaches 1 cup. Stir and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.