Orange Cranberry Loaf Cake

I wrote this post up a few weeks ago, I wasn’t happy with the photo’s that I took, made it a couple times since then but its been so gloomy out there, since it was a sunny day today and I had the ingredients I thought I should take advantage of the sun and try to get some good shots! The sun in my kitchen wasn’t so bright this afternoon, but I think they turned out okay, much better then the first time that is for sure!

I am so excited to finally share this with you, it is the best cake I have ever made, truly its just so good! Its moist and delicious! I hope you try it out for yourself and please let me know what you think! 

I do have to let you know that for some reason the cranberries come up on to the top of the cake, I have made this cake four times now and every single time it happens, not sure why…could it be cause cranberries are so light that they just pop up? Blueberries usually sink down or stay in the middle, same with chocolate chips…but not cranberries, if you know why that happens please let me know, and let me know if it happens to you!

Thank you for all your tips! The most popular tip is to roll the cranberries with flour before adding to the batter. I will try that as soon as I make it again!

Orange Cranberry Cake


My adaptation from apronette‘s Lemon Loaf Cake

  • Orange Cranberry Loaf Cake


    • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup plain yogurt*
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3 large eggs
    • zest of one orange - about 1 tablespoon
    • juice of an orange*
    • 1 packet of vanilla sugar (comes in a 9g packet dr oetker or ruff brand)
    • 1/2 cup light tasting olive oil
    • 1 cup fresh cranberries and 1/4 for the top
    • For the Icing:
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 2- 3 tbsp cream or orange juice or milk*


    1. Preheat oven to 325, grease the bottom of 8 inch loaf pan and add a piece of parchment, enough so that it sticks out over the sides of the pan.
    2. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. In another bowl, combine yogurt, eggs, sugar, orange zest, olive oil, orange juice and vanilla sugar.
    3. Add in the 1 cup of cranberries, combine, pour batter into the pan. Add the extra cranberries on top of loaf.
    4. Bake for 40 -45 minutes until toothpick comes out clean (may take longer depending on pan or oven). Remove from pan, that is where the parchment comes handy. Spread glaze over the cake, enjoy!
    5. *Make sure when you buy yogurt its plain yogurt made with only simple ingredients, like cream, milk and bacterial cultures, anything else is not real yogurt. Homemade is best but not always an option.
    6. *If you want a thicker icing use cream, if you want a glaze type icing use orange juice or milk.
    7. * If the orange is the size of an average lemon I use all the juice from it, if it is a very large orange then half or 3/4's of it is enough, I would say 3-4 tbsp worth of juice.
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Cranberry Orange Loaf Cake
Orange Cranberry Loaf Cake
Cranberry Orange Loaf Cake
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  1. Try rolling the cranberries in flour before putting them in the mix. It’s supposed to work with blueberries too.

  2. You made me drooooooo……………………….l, seriously. I have to try this ASAP. The pictures are amazing & I can only imagine the taste YUMMY.

  3. Yes, I agree with Nancy. try a light coat of flour. It helps to suspend things like chocolate chips, etc in the cake, etc. Can’t wait to try this! Looks amazing!

  4. Donna Abell says:

    What is vanilla sugar? Can it be left out?

    • Hi Donna! Vanilla sugar comes in a packet form, its basically vanilla flavouring that isn’t too strong in flavour, I often use it, you can use vanilla extract instead if you desire:) You don’t have to add it.

      • You can make vanilla sugar, it is really easy and yummy.
        You take sugar and vanilla beans and you half the bean with a knife, down the length of the bean to expose the “paste” and then put in the sugar and let sit for about 2 weeks. I use it in coffee, cooking and in whipping cream.

        • I do that as well…in fact I wrote a post about it on the blog :) I actually don’t use that one in this recipe though as the packet one is very light in flavour, and when I make a citrus cake I am afraid the vanilla will over power the flavour of the citrus fruit. Let me know if you do use it, and be sure to let me know how you like it Kara! Thank you!

  5. Linda Gentry says:

    I make cranberry bread every year for Thanksgiving AND Christmas. I coarsely chop the whole cranberries before adding them to my recipe. My common sense tells me that with cranberries they swell when cooking causing them to rise to the top (as in boiling them until they pop when making cranberry sauce). Perhaps it’s air – who knows. But a coarse chop might help.

  6. Modernwinglish says:

    This was excellent! I rolled the cranberries in flour and didn’t have any problems. I didn’t have vanilla sugar so I used 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. I will be making this again for sure!

  7. Hubby loved the finished results. I did use chopped cranberries, so they were evenly throughout the loaf. I have never seen vanilla sugar packets before so I wasnt sure how much wascin one so I used 1 tsp of Vanilla Sugarvfrom Penzeys. Thank you for the recipe.

    • Thanks! That’s awesome Mish, always love to hear that!:) Dr. Oetker brand as well as Ruf brand makes vanilla sugar it’s what I normally use, it measures out to 9g a packet, its easy to find in my city. I like it as its light in flavour. Thanks again :)

  8. Try poking a hole in the cranberries. The juices in the berries will cause them to float when they get hot.

  9. What is a vanilla sugar packet?

  10. This sounds so very delicious, I am adding the ingredients I need to my shopping list and being in Florida I will have the freshest orange zest! I want to ask you a question please. If I give you full credit, may I share this on my blog?
    Joan Penfold recently posted…Butterflies Flutterby! I Love Butterflies. Lupus & Fibro Awareness.My Profile

    • Hi Joan! Oh how lucky to live in Florida, for sure you will have the best tasting orange juice and zest around! I thank you for your interest in sharing, I do appreciate shares…if you could just share the link to the recipe, back to my blog without sharing the recipe itself would be appreciated. Thank you again. Enjoy! :)
      momwhats4dinner recently posted…Quince Marmalade – Recel FtoiMy Profile

  11. Where do you buy vanilla sugar? If using vanilla extract, how much do you use? Orange and cranberries ate my favorite combination! Thanks

    • Hi Anna! In Canada it is available everywhere, I am not familiar with American stores, I have seen it on Amazon. I would check the baking section or if you have an Italian store in your town, they sell it as well, maybe the International section in your grocery store, Dr.Oetker or Ruff brand makes them. One of the readers mentioned that she used vanilla extract and that she used 1/2 tsp. Thank you Anna!

  12. I made this for Thanksgiving, but made it into a Bundt cake instead of a loaf. Turned out amazing – such a bright flavor and really dense and moist. But instead of using olive oil, I substituted a stick of melted butter (I’m kind of a purist when it comes to baking). Also, instead of vanilla sugar, I used 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Don’t worry about the vanilla over powering the citrus – this recipe is VERY citrusy. I also used a mix of half and half along with orange juice in the glaze and also added 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract (I love vanilla). After I rinsed the cranberries and they were still wet, I coated them in flour and the berries were evenly distributed throughout the cake. Thanks for the recipe!

    • That sounds great! I am glad to hear it, thank you for sharing that, I was hoping someone would try it as a bundt cake and let me know what happened! Good to know that butter worked as well, someone asked me and I didn’t know what to tell her. Thank you again Matt!

  13. Just made this recipe this afternoon and it didn’t turn out right. It still tastes great but it was kinda wet and spongy inside and I even cooked it much longer than the recipe originally stated. Toothpick came out clean so it had to be done. I read somewhere that you can use apple sauce as a substitute for oil, so that was what I did. Do you think that this would of made a difference?

    • Hi Jenny, if you used apple sauce as a substitute for the oil, that could be the problem. I read some where that apple sauce can only be substituted for oil if the recipe mentions it, sometimes it doesn’t work out, especially for a moist cake such as this. You don’t have to use the light olive oil, you can use any oil you wish, or even butter as another reader mentioned in the comments. :)

      • Ok, here I go. I used 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup applesauce. I also had to rehydrate my dried cranberries. I didn’t have vanilla sugar so I just added a little more sugar ( I used 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup Splenda) to equal a little more stated in the recipe. I only used 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites. Because of those changes I didn’t need to add the yogurt stated in the recipe. In spite of these changes it turned out light and beautiful. My husband ate 2 pieces and thought it tasted really good.

  14. Cranberries have 4 air chambers – that is what makes them float when they are harvested. I would imagine that is why they ‘float’ to the top. Not sure how to stop it – maybe cut them in half

  15. This looks very, very tasty. I was thinking, however, that chopping the cranberries might help the juices to escape a little more and add to the flavor, as well as preventing floating. I don’t have any idea whether this would work or not, but maybe incorporating a small amount of cranberry juice would help with flavor, too. I just couldn’t help thinking that all you would taste is orange, and I love cranberry.

  16. Michelle Vu says:

    where can i get fresh cranberries? do you think i can use dried cranberries instead? thanks :)

    • They sell fresh cranberries from fall through the winter at grocery stores, and markets. I have never tried using dried cranberries, you can try it if you cannot find fresh or frozen. Let me know how it works out for you Michelle!

  17. Just made this tonight and it was super awesome. Thank you.

  18. I’ve now made this recipe 3 times and it is delicious! We don’t get fresh cranberries in Australia (or at least I’ve never seen them) so I used dried, and it worked fine. I also used vanilla extract instead of the vanilla sugar. The cooking time in the oven I’m using (or perhaps the tin) is much longer than advised here, but I just keep checking it until it is cooked. Thanks for the recipe, it’s been added to my favourites!

    • That’s terrific Keira! Thank you for letting me know about the dried cranberries, a reader asked me about that and I didn’t know how it would work out, now I know it does :) Yes you are right, at times it takes longer for mine to bake as well, the oven or pans used does make a difference in baking time. Thanks again!

  19. Theresa Callahan says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe and the beautiful pictures. The orange slices and cranberries placed along the sides make for a lovely presentation!

    I made your cake last night, and we’ve already gobbled up half of it! I made it just the way you said except for the vanilla sugar, because I didn’t have any. I used half a teaspoon of vanilla paste instead. I got lazy with the icing and didn’t bother to measure the juice and it was way too runny. I’ll know better next time! The tip about cutting the cranberries was a great one! The were evenly distributed, and I think I liked having smaller chunks of tartness scattered throughout the slice of cake.

    • Thank you very much Theresa! Oh ya vanilla paste is good as well, many readers have mentioned they used vanilla extract and they liked it. I think I will try cutting them as well, I like the idea of them being smaller and scattered as you said. :)

  20. I made this cake for my husband for Christmas morning and we both loved it – he’s been asking me to make him a cranberry bread for the past two years and I when I saw this recipe I knew I could finally honor his request. I tossed the cranberries with flour and used vanilla extract instead of vanilla sugar per the suggestions offered by others and both worked great. I also used an orange flavored olive oil which was delicious. This is such a great recipe and one that I’ve added to my list of favorites to make during the holidays.

    • That is wonderful Lynette! I am delighted that my recipe made it to your list of favourites! :) I never heard of orange flavoured olive oil, sounds interesting…will have to look that up! :)

  21. Natalie Marx says:

    Flour will help heavy items like blueberries and chocolate chips from sinking. However cranberries have a tiny pocket of air in them, which is why the float in the bogs when they’re harvested. And is probably the reason they are rising in the batter when your cake bakes. A little extra flour in the *batter* would make it thicker and probably help the cranberries stay put, but would also then change the texture of your cake.

  22. Roni Kaye says:

    Can you use strawberries? Cranberries are seasonal and the dried ones are so bitter and I doubt it would turn out, even if you reconstitute… oh, or cherries? Anyone ever tried?

    • Hi Roni,
      Both strawberries and cherries sound great, I haven’t tried it, but now that strawberry season is coming up I think I will. If you happen to find frozen cranberries they work as well. Let me know if you tried the strawberries or cherries :)

  23. Thank you for the beautiful pictures of this yummy loaf. I am going to make it soon, its looking delicious! Thanks for sharing.


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