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Cranberry Mandarin Loaf

Mandarin cranberry loaf 3

Too soon?

I know, a lot of you are still cleansing and juicing and shunning wheat and sugar. And the cranberry-orange flavour combo is decidedly December. But after a few weeks of hiatus, cranberry-orange loaves make their way back into coffee shop displays. Or do they? Am I remembering the early days of coffee shop-mania when cranberry-orange loaves, muffins and scones were de rigueur? Perhaps flavours, like green tea and pomegranate and chipotle, become trendy like skinny jeans and Uggs, and then fall from glory. If this is the case, cranberry-orange loaves were so 1990s. It was always Mike’s first choice, and I haven’t made a loaf for years. And so I did.

Mandarin cranberry loaf 1

Besides, there’s a foot of snow on the ground and baking is the most pleasant way to warm a house. Bags of fresh cranberries are still cheap as stores try to get rid of their stock, and those ginormous cases of Mandarin oranges still dominate the produce section of the grocery store – does anyone ever finish a box before they go all spongy? I may have hit a new low in my quest to not waste food – I’ve found a use for at least a few of those peels I’ve been picking them up off beds, couches and coffee tables for weeks. Turns out you can – of course – grate the zest of a mandarin or satsuma and add them to your muffins and loaves and cakes. Or blitz it in the food processor with a bowl of sugar, and keep your orange-infused sugar in a glass jar on the shelf – a little brightness in deep midwinter.

Mandarin cranberry loaf 2

Mandarin cranberry loaf 3
Mandarin cranberry loaf 3

Cranberry Mandarin Loaf

Recipe link

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January 10, 2013


1/4 cup butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

finely grated zest of an orange or a couple mandarins/tangerines/satsumas

1 large egg

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 cup orange juice

1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries


1Preheat the oven to 350F

2In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and zest until fluffy; beat in the egg. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to the butter mixture in three additions, alternating with the juice in two. Add the cranberries along with the final addition of flour.

3Pour into a buttered 8"x4" loaf pan and bake for an hour, or until springy to the touch.

4 Cool for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.


About Julie

15 comments on “Cranberry Mandarin Loaf

  1. Carolyn
    January 10, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    Beautiful! I love the idea of mandarin infused sugar.

  2. Aga
    January 10, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    You’re spot on about the cleansing! Seems silly to swear off wheat and sugar for a week or so, but after a season of excess it looks like a good idea at the time. A week into my cleanse and I’m ready to gnaw on the coffee table leg for some fibre. Can’t wait to try this recipe when I’m back to (somewhat) saner eating.

  3. Asiya @ Chocolate and Chillies
    January 10, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    A little embarrassed to say I just discovered the cranberry orange flavour combo…..growing up in an Indian home we never had cranberries. Recently I had some Morning Rounds with cranberry and oranges and LOVED the combination…I’ve been searching for a recipe with that flavour combo and came across your recipe! Have to give this a try soon! Thx for sharing!

  4. Nicole(Whole Strides)
    January 11, 2013 at 12:26 am

    Good is good. I don’t care if a taste is seasonal. If I like it, I’m going to eat if if I have it. End of story!

  5. Dan @ Dan's Good Side
    January 11, 2013 at 10:31 am

    I’m not really trying too hard to diet right now. I would eat a whole loaf and not think twice about it! :) I don’t think I am going to have a very beach-appropriate body for my trip to Australia next month…….sigh……

  6. Melissa {Being a Bear}
    January 11, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Love that gorgeous crust on top! And as for the seasonality: I’d eat cranberries all year long, if only the store would keep them in stock. Bring on the cranberry loaf!

  7. the other Al
    January 11, 2013 at 11:46 am

    so you pick up mandarin peels all over the house too eh? i thought i was the only person who’s family had an mind block when it came to disposing of the peel. I get so bored with saying “have as many oranges as you want but don’t leave the peels all over the house”. Nobody listens…
    Cran/orange is my favourite loaf too! Awesome idea with the peel n sugar.

  8. Janice
    January 13, 2013 at 11:44 am

    This recipe was very timely. I had half a bag of fresh cranberries in the fridge waiting to be used up. I had some Meyer lemons on hand and decided to combine some of these with some peel and juice from a cara cara orange that I had on hand. The loaf turned out perfectly and has a wonderful flavour and texture.

  9. Ruth
    January 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    I just made a couple of these last night. Not this recipe but one with yogurt and dried cranberries instead of fresh. Still it was great. Totally my go-to loaf flavour, I really hope it doesn’t ever go out of fashion (not that I pay attention to fashion much anyway!)

  10. Stephanie
    January 15, 2013 at 9:06 am

    This looks so sunny and fresh, perfect for grey and chilly January.

  11. RMB
    January 15, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    I also love the cranberry/orange combo and just made a similar loaf — but it was to use up my leftover eggnog, so had a cup of eggnog to which you added orange zest and dried cranberries. Although it was ok, I was disappointed that it didn’t taste more eggnoggy and orangy. I’ll bet the use of OJ would help, at least with the orange flavour.

  12. ashley
    January 18, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    i have a lot of blog reading to catch up with and am so happy to see all these delicious things on your blog that i can’t wait to make!!

  13. Kathy
    January 24, 2013 at 9:22 am

    I love Cranberries and will definitely be trying this recipe out soon!

  14. stacey snacks
    October 9, 2016 at 12:30 pm

    I just saw your muffins on instagram…..do you think this recipe would work in muffin tins?


    • Julie
      October 10, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      It should, yes! I’m about to post the muffin recipe now :)

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