Cranberry and Orange Loaf Cake
My cranberry and orange loaf cake is a delicious, fruity and moist loaf. Perfect for enjoying freshly baked warm from the oven on a winters day. Making a cranberry loaf is a super easy Christmas cake for friends and family and will be in your family favourite recipes for Christmas that you will make time and time again.
My cranberry and orange loaf cake is a delicious, fruity and moist loaf perfect for enjoying freshly baked warm from the oven. It mixes together two perfect winter flavours. the rich sharp cranberries and the fruity and juicy orange really do work well together in a light and fluffy cake.
I never really know if this is a loaf or a cake. Or even what the difference is. All I know is that it’s fruity and cakey and absolutely delicious. I use vanilla extract and sometimes a pinch of cinnamon or ground ginger to add that extra Christmas flavour.
Looking for an easy Cranberry and orange cake UK recipe?
This easy recipe for my cranberry and orange loaf is a mix of the iconic winter flavours and soft sponge. The fresh orange juice and the use of brown sugar in the cake mix gives it that much richer flavour than a classic sponge. I love using brown sugar for winter bakes as the flavour of the sugar really changes the finished bake. It also smells incredible in the oven as it’s cooking.
It is such a great golden bake and the kitchen and house will smell incredible as the cranberry and orange loaf is cooking. You can cut the cranberries in half if you want but leaving them hole worked really well. They had popped and gone soft in the cake so as you cut through they squish and the juice comes out. The mix of sharp and sugar really works very very well.
Easy Orange Loaf Recipe
The first time I made this recipe it didn’t have the cranberries in and was a wonderfully easy orange loaf. I love using fresh orange in my bakes and this cake has juice freshly squeezed in. If I’m making it as easy orange loaf, leaving our the cranberries, I often drizzle some white icing over the top to add some extra sweetness to serve. In to that icing sugar I will use more orange juice to make it liquid and add more delicious orange to the bake. Can you tell I love oranges yet?
What flavours can I use to make a cake Christmassy?
I think cranberry and orange have to be the most iconic of winter and Christmas flavours, especially in bakes and cakes. All you need is a little spice like cinnamon or ground cloves and it reaches epic levels of flavour. I love these winter flavours and I’m sure you can tell from my bakes that I use them a lot.
Fresh cranberry cake
This recipe is brilliant to make and versatile enough to be used with fresh cranberries or dried cranberries.
The fresh cranberries give a really tart flavour which can be nice if you like that little sharpness in the slightly sweet and fruity cake. The dried cranberries are slightly sweeter and will soften in the cake mix too. I really like both options but for easy I often make this with more dried than fresh. Only as it can be hard finding fresh cranberries outside of Christmas time.
How to decorate the Cranberry and orange loaf cake UK
To decorate the cranberry orange loaf I added thin slices of orange and studded to the top, along with some cranberries too. The cooked loaf cake really looks beautiful. The orange slices made it look very stunning. A show stopper for sure! With a dusting of a icing sugar the cranberry and orange loaf was ready to serve. A little bit of snow to make it look more Christmassy.
Winter baking ready. Step by step photos on how to make the cranberry and orange loaf cake
Heat oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan). Grease and line a 1lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper. Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth (by hand or electric mixer). If the sugar is a bit lumpy use the back of a fork to break up the sugar before adding it in.
Add the eggs one at a time and stir in well after each addition. Sift in half the flour with the bicarbonate of soda and salt, and mix. Add in the zest and juice of half an orange. Stir in the cranberries. You can use either fresh or dried cranberries for this loaf cake. If you are using dried cranberries use about 100g and don’t add any to the top as they will burn.
Add in the milk and stir in followed by the remaining flour and vanilla. Fill the loaf tin with the mixture. Thinly slice the left over orange into slices and add three to the top along with a few cranberries.
Dried cranberry loaf cake
Dried cranberry loaf cake is the exact same recipe as below but use slightly less dried cranberries in weight to make the cake work. The fresh ones weight more so if you do weight for weight you will probably end up with a cake which is more cranberries than cake.
Other way to decorate the orange loaf cake with dried oranges
If you don’t want to cook the easy orange loaf cake with cranberries, with the orange slice on top you can. If you make it without the decoration that cooks in, you can then add dried orange slice which are super cute. Dried oranges are easy to make and you can find my blog post about to make them here -> dried orange slices.
How to make a Christmas cake with oranges?
Christmas cakes I believe need some fruitiness, spice and something mixed in for extra bite. I love this recipe as it has the fresh orange flavour which is used so much for Christmas bakes. The cranberry loaf cake has fresh cranberries through the mix to add some bright red jam like blobs. It also adds some tartness/sourness into the mix. An extra addition you can make is adding some white chocolate to mix. Oh yummy.
I love how the cranberries and orange slices look on the loaf as it’s ready for the oven. It looks so joyous and fruity. Definitely better cooked though.
What should I do if my cake is starting to brown but the inside isn’t cooked?
With all cakes there is a worry about the top cooking before the inside has, this can depend on the heat of the oven, the height of the cake in the oven and the type of mix. For this cake place in the centre of the oven. If it starts browning too quickly make a little over coat for the cake out of silver/aluminium foil. Place over the top of the cranberry and orange loaf cake making sure it doesn’t touch. We don’t want the aluminium foil getting stuck in the cake. It won’t matter if it does, it’s still edible but it might make the top of cake not look as pretty. If it happens a dusting of icing sugar will hide anything.
Healthy orange loaf cake
This healthy orange loaf cake has fresh ingredients and fresh orange too. By making cakes at home you will know the exact ingredients used and it won’t have anything bad for your health like preservatives and chemicals. As eaten as part of a balanced diet this orange loaf cake is definitely a health alternative to a lot of other cakes available.
Cranberry and orange loaf cake perfect to make for your family this Christmas
I hope you have a wonderful winter, a Merry Christmas and joyous time with your loved ones. If you are baking this please do let me know. I’d love to know what you think.
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Cranberry and Orange Loaf Cake
- 125 g butter
- 175 g soft brown sugar eg light muscovado
- 2 medium eggs
- 300 g plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- tiny pinch of salt
- zest and juice of half an orange Save the other half for the decoration
- 125 ml milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 150 g fresh cranberries (if you use dried use 100g)
- Heat oven to 180ºC (160ºC fan). Grease and line a 1lb loaf tin with greaseproof paper.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until smooth (by hand or electric mixer).
- Add the eggs one at a time and stir in well.
- Sift in half the flour with the bicarbonate of soda and salt, and mix.
- Add in the zest and juice of half an orange.
- Add in the milk and stir in followed by the remaining flour, cranberries and vanilla.
- Fill the loaf tin with the mixture.
- Thinly slice the left over orange into slices and add three to the top along with a few cranberries.
- Wrap in silver foil and bake for 50 minutes until golden brown and until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cover the top with foil if it starts to brown too quickly.
- Allow to cool in the tin for at least 10 minutes before turning out. To serve, cut into thick slices and serve warm or at room temperature.
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View my other recipes and see below for more cranberry recipes.