Cranberry Orange Eggnog Loaf Recipe

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Quick Bread studded with cranberries, mixed peel, pecans, and orange zest
Cranberry Orange Eggnog Loaf

I call this quick bread the loaf with Christmas wrapped inside it! That’s because this Cranberry Orange Eggnog Loaf encompasses many of the flavors we typically associate with Christmas – the bright red cranberries, eggnog, warm spices of nutmeg, mace, and cardamom, citrus notes that come from orange marmalade, juice, and orange rind, mixed peel/citron, and pecans. It’s the perfect loaf for weekend brunch, coffee or tea break, or gift giving.

Muffin Mixing Method for Making a Quick Bread

This is a quick bread meaning it is leavened with baking powder and baking soda, rather than yeast, making it a much quicker bread to make. Depending on the recipe, some quick breads are made with the creaming method and others by the muffin mixing (or stirring) method which is how I have developed this Cranberry Orange Eggnog Loaf to be made.

Essentially, with the muffin mixing method, the dry ingredients (flour, leavening agent(s), salt, and spices) are mixed in one bowl and the liquid ingredients (dairy, juice, eggs, liquid fat, and flavorings like vanilla and almond extract), along with the sugars and citrus zest, are mixed in a separate bowl. The liquid ingredients are added, all at once, to the dry ingredients and mixed manually (not by mixer) just until they are combined and the dry ingredients are little more than moistened by the liquid ingredients. This forms the batter and it will be lumpy which is the way it is supposed to be – it’s not intended to be a smooth batter. If overmixed, it will over stimulate the gluten in the flour which would create a tough texture in the loaf. So, my first piece of advice – don’t overmix the batter.

Antique Christmas Mug filled with tea to enjoy with Cranberry Orange Eggnog Loaf
Cranberry Orange Eggnog Loaf

Ingredients

The second piece of advice I have is to bring all the ingredients to room temperature – the eggs, eggnog, sour cream, and orange juice. Melt the butter in time for it to cool to room temperature but still stay in liquid form. Having ingredients that are typically cold come to room temperature before incorporating them into a batter will help them blend together better and will result in them being quicker and better absorbed into the batter.

Use full fat eggnog for this recipe (not a light version) and the same for the sour cream. The addition of sour cream helps to create a tender and moist crumb in the loaf and, ultimately, a rich and moist bread. It also adds fat content without thinning the batter and, of course, it is the acidic ingredient that will activate the baking soda called for in the recipe and which, in combination with the baking powder, will cause the loaf to rise as it bakes. Because of its creamy properties and the moisture it imparts in baked goods, sour cream is an excellent option for recipes like quick breads and coffee cakes that are known to have a dry texture.

Either fresh or frozen cranberries can be used in this loaf. Chop them coarsely – you still want to be able to identify them as cranberries in a cut slice of the loaf so there is no need to chop them too finely. The recipe calls for 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon of mixed peel. If you have some citron on hand (perhaps left over from making a fruitcake), add it in. I added about 2 tablespoons of citron in the loaf in the photographs but it is fine if made with just mixed peel. The chopped pecans add a nutty component to the loaf as well as texture.

The addition of the finely grated orange rind (I recommend using a microplane or other very fine grater for this), orange marmalade, and orange juice, brings citrus notes to the loaf.

Make sure to toss the cranberries, mixed peel (and citron, if using), and pecans in a bowl with 1/8 cup all-purpose flour before adding to the batter. This flour dredging will help to keep the fruit suspended in the loaf as it bakes instead of sinking to the bottom.

Slice of moist and flavorful Cranberry Orange Eggnog Loaf
Cranberry Orange Eggnog Loaf

Baking, Cooling, and Slicing Loaf

This loaf will bake in the center of the oven rack that has been positioned in the center of the oven. This will allow good airflow for baking all sides of the bread evenly. If the bread starts to brown too much, loosely tent a piece of tin foil over it for the last 15 minutes or so of baking. In general, the loaf will take about an hour or so to bake. However, this is a guideline only as every oven bakes differently with some ovens running hotter than others. The loaf will be done when the top is set and springs back to a light touch, and a cake tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

This loaf benefits from being stored, at room temperature, in a plastic bag overnight to mellow. This will allow the flavors to get to know each other as they mix and mingle. When ready to serve, cut the loaf into slices about ½“ thick. Serve plain or with butter. Loaf also freezes well.

Slices of Cranberry Orange Eggnog Loaf with a cup of tea in an antique mug
Cranberry Orange Eggnog Loaf

[Printable recipe follows at end of post]

Cranberry Orange Eggnog Loaf

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp (very slightly rounded) nutmeg
1/8 tsp mace
1/8 tsp cardamom

2 large eggs, room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1/3 cup melted butter, cooled to room temperature
½ cup eggnog (not light and no substitutes), room temperature
1/3 cup sour cream, room temperature
¼ cup orange marmalade
2 tbsp orange juice, room temperature
2-3 tsp finely grated orange rind
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp pure almond extract

¾ cup coarsely chopped cranberries (fresh or frozen)
2/3 cup + 1 tbsp mixed peel (or a combination of mixed peel and citron)
½ cup chopped pecans
1/8 cup all-purpose flour

Method:

Melt butter and let cool to room temperature but keep it still in liquid form.

Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature – in particular, bring the eggs, eggnog, sour cream, and orange juice to room temperature.

Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9”x5”3” loaf pan with parchment paper and spritz very lightly with cooking oil.

In medium-sized bowl, sieve together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Set aside.

In separate bowl, lightly whisk (or fork stir) eggs just to break them up. Stir in granulated and brown sugars then add the melted butter, eggnog, sour cream, marmalade, orange juice, grated orange rind, vanilla, and almond extract. Mix well to combine.

Pour wet ingredients all at once into well in dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. The batter will be lumpy. Combine the cranberries, mixed peel (and citron, if using) and pecans in bowl. Toss with 1/8 cup all-purpose flour. Fold the fruit and nuts into the batter just until combined.

Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake in center of oven rack for about an hour or until cake tester inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. If loaf starts to brown too quickly on top, loosely tent with tin foil for the last 15 minutes or so of baking. Remove loaf from oven and let rest in pan on wire cooling rack for about 15 minutes. Remove loaf from pan and set upright on wire rack to cool completely.

Loaf is best made the day before it is needed. Place loaf in airtight plastic bag and store at room temperature overnight. Loaf freezes well either wholly or in slices.

Yield: One loaf, apx. 12-14 slices (sliced approximately ½” thick)

Slices of Cranberry Orange Eggnog Loaf ready for teatime
Cranberry Orange Eggnog Loaf
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Quick bread studded with ranberries, mixed peel, citron, and pecans
Cranberry Orange Eggnog Loaf
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Freshly cut Christmas Quick Bread with a mug of tea

[Printable Recipe]

Cranberry Orange Eggnog Loaf

Filled with cranberries, mixed peel, pecans, and orange flavor combined with eggnog and a whisper of warm spices, this Cranberry Orange Eggnog Loaf is like Christmas wrapped in a quick bread!
Course Bread
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword cranberry orange eggnog loaf, cranberry,, eggnog, quick bread
Servings 12
My Island Bistro Kitchen Barbara99

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp (very slightly rounded) nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp mace
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/3 cup melted butter, cooled to room temperature
  • ½ cup eggnog (not light and no substitutes), room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • ¼ cup orange marmalade
  • 2 tbsp orange juice, room temperature
  • 2-3 tsp finely grated orange rind
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp pure almond extract
  • ¾ cup coarsely chopped cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2/3 cup + 1 tbsp mixed peel (or a combination of mixed peel and citron)
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 1/8 cup all-purpose flour

Instructions

  1. Melt butter and let cool to room temperature but keep it still in liquid form.
  2. Ensure all ingredients are at room temperature – in particular, bring the eggs, eggnog, sour cream, and orange juice to room temperature.
  3. Position oven rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Line 9”x5”3” loaf pan with parchment paper and spritz very lightly with cooking oil.
  4. In medium-sized bowl, sieve together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and spices. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Set aside.
  5. In separate bowl, lightly whisk (or fork stir) eggs just to break them up. Stir in granulated and brown sugars then add the melted butter, eggnog, sour cream, marmalade, orange juice, grated orange rind, vanilla, and almond extract. Mix well to combine.
  6. Pour wet ingredients all at once into well in dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. The batter will be lumpy. Combine the cranberries, mixed peel (and citron, if using) and pecans in bowl. Toss with 1/8 cup all-purpose flour. Fold the fruit and nuts into the batter just until combined.
  7. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake in center of oven rack for about an hour or until cake tester inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. If loaf starts to brown too quickly on top, loosely tent with tin foil for the last 15 minutes or so of baking. Remove loaf from oven and let rest in pan on wire cooling rack for about 15 minutes. Remove loaf from pan and set upright on wire rack to cool completely.
  8. Loaf is best made the day before it is needed. Place loaf in airtight plastic bag and store at room temperature overnight. Loaf freezes well either wholly or in slices.

Recipe Notes

Yield: One loaf, apx. 12-14 slices (sliced approximately ½” thick)

For other quick bread recipes from My Island Bistro Kitchen, click on the links below:

Cinnamon Bread
Glazed Lemon Pecan Bread
Classic Banana Bread

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