Zesty orange and juicy cranberries pair beautifully together. This easy loaf cake is sweet, soft, and the perfect afternoon treat. This easy and quick orange cranberry cake is topped with an orange glaze!
During the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons, I love baking with cranberries. The tart juicy berries are a pleasant switch up from the standard strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries! My cranberry orange scones recipe is a favorite for the holidays too!
This cake is based off of my orange loaf cake recipe which is a reader favorite. The orange flavor pairs beautifully with the tart cranberries. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Let's get to the recipe
- All-Purpose Flour. Make sure you measure your flour properly, too much or too little can ruin the cake.
- Baking Powder. The baking powder will create the lift you need when baking the cake.
- Salt. Just a little helps balance out the sweetness and brings out the flavors of all of the other ingredients.
- Granulated Sugar. The sugar will cream with the butter and zest.
- Unsalted Butter. Your butter needs to be at room temperature in order to properly cream with the sugar and zest.
- Orange Zest. The orange zest gets mixed in with the sugar and butter for the ultimate orange flavor bomb. Make sure you wash your oranges and this is my favorite microplane zester to use.
- Large Eggs. Your eggs need to be at room temperature to properly incorporate into the batter. You can do this quickly by placing them in a bowl of warm water for 5 minutes before using.
- Fresh Orange Juice. Just use the same orange you used to the zest for.
- Buttermilk. This tangy liquid provides great moisture for the cake. If you don't have any on hand you can add a splash of white vinegar or fresh lemon juice in the measuring cup then fill it up with whole milk and let it sit for 5-10 minutes.
- Sour Cream. This adds moisture and a slight tang to the flavor.
- Cranberries. You can use fresh cranberries or frozen cranberries. If using frozen make sure you do not thaw the berries!
For the orange glaze:
- Confectioner's Sugar. I prefer to sift mine to prevent any lumps.
- Fresh Orange Juice. The zesty, bright orange flavors make the glaze irresistible!
One of the easiest ways for your cake to not bake properly is if your oven is not properly heated. Make sure you allow plenty of time to preheat the oven to 350F/180C and grease a 9X5 loaf pan.
In a bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a handheld electric mixer on medium speed combine sugar, butter, and orange zest for 3-4 minutes, so it's nice and fluffy. Adding the orange zest now helps the oils from the zest really blend into the sugar and butter for a stronger orange flavor.
Add in the eggs one at a time, waiting until each is fully combined, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl mix in orange juice, sour cream, and buttermilk.
Add half of the dry ingredients mix to just combine then pour in all of the wet ingredients and finally mix in the remaining dry ingredients with the cranberries, fold until just until combined. You don't want to over stir which can activate the gluten and create a tougher cake texture.
Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Let the cake cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before starting the glaze.
While the cake is cooling prepare orange glaze. In a bowl combine powdered sugar and orange juice. Drizzle on top of the cake when it is completely cool. Store cake in an airtight container, store in the fridge to last longer. You could decorate the cake with orange slices or sugared cranberries.
How to freeze
You can freeze the whole loaf cake or freeze slices. If you are going to freeze the whole loaf cake I would ideally freeze it without the glaze. Let the cake cool completely then wrap in plastic wrap tightly, twice. Freeze for up to 1 month. Place the cake in the freezer overnight to thaw.
You can also freeze slices. The same concept -- wrap the slices in plastic wrap tightly, twice. Then I store them in a freezer-safe container. Let sit on the countertop for an hour or two to thaw, depending on how thick your slices are depended on how long it will take to thaw completely.
Can you double
You can definitely double the recipe and make two loaves. Just press the 2X button on the recipe card below.
More loaf cake recipes
My raspberry lemon loaf cake has been one of the most popular recipes on my website for years, so yummy!
For warm flavors try my Sticky Toffee Loaf Cake, a spin on my favorite childhood dessert.
If you love carrot cake then you are sure to adore this Banana Carrot Loaf Cake!
★★★★★ Please let me know if you make this recipe by leaving a star rating and comment below!Print
- 1 ½ cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 ½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 1 ⅓ cups Granulated Sugar
- ¾ cup Unsalted Butter, at room temp.
- 2 Large Eggs, at room temp.
- 3 Tablespoon Fresh Orange Juice
- 1 heaping Tablespoon Orange Zest
- ¼ cup Buttermilk
- ¼ cup Sour Cream
- 6oz Fresh or Frozen Cranberries
- 1 ½ cups Confectioners Sugar, sifted
- 3 Tablespoons Fresh Orange Juice
- 1 Teaspoon Orange Zest
- Preheat oven to 350F/180C and grease a 9X5 loaf pan.
- In a bowl of an electric mixer combine sugar, butter, and orange zest for 3-4 minutes, so it's nice and fluffy. Add in the eggs one at a time, waiting until each is fully combined.
- In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a small bowl mix in orange juice, sour cream, and buttermilk.
- Add half of the dry ingredients mix to just combine then add all of the wet ingredients and finally mix in the remaining dry ingredients with the cranberries just until combined.
- Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before starting the glaze.
- While the cake is cooling prepare orange glaze. In a bowl combine powdered sugar, orange juice, and orange zest. Drizzle on top of the cake when it is completely cool. Store cake in an airtight container, store in the fridge to last longer.
- Prep Time: 15
- Cook Time: 55
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: cranberry orange loaf, orange cranberry bread
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