Citrus Cranberry Loaf Cake

Citrus Cranberry Loaf
Citrus Cranberry Loaf Cake… made with a combination of lemon, orange and grapefruit and frozen cranberries.

My last steady freelance gig has asked me to come back to help out for a couple of months starting tomorrow. Yay! A guaranteed paycheck! Woohoo!

Besides getting a steady paycheck though, the people that work there are absolutely wonderful! It will be so nice to be back in the office with them if only for a short while.

They also know that I enjoy baking and have mentioned to me via Facebook, that they miss my creations! As a home baker, that makes me so very happy and proud!

With them in mind and also a lot of citrus fruit, grapefruit juice, and frozen cranberries on hand, I baked a loaf cake to bring to share with them tomorrow morning.


Loaf Cake:

  • 240 grams (2 cups) plain/all-purpose flour
  • 149 grams (3⁄4 US cup) sugar
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • Scraping of half a vanilla (optional)
  • Zest from one lemon
  • 57 grams (1/4 cup) butter, softened but still cold (not frozen)
  • 1 egg (room temp)
  • ½ tsp of Fiori di Sicilia (or vanilla extract)
  • 3⁄4 cup grapefruit juice
  • 100 grams (1 US cup) cranberries, chopped (fresh or frozen) — sliced in half or quarter (easiest to do when frozen)


  • 1 tablespoon grapefruit or orange juice (+ more to get to desired consistency)
  • Orange or tangerine Zest (for color — Optional, but I love zest!)
  • small pinch of salt
  • 1 cup  powdered sugar (you’re supposed to sift it, I didn’t and it was fine)
  • Drop or two of vanilla extract

My recipe was inspired by this one.

Cranberry Cake Before Baking (1 of 3)


Preheat oven to 350° F/177° C. Prepare your loaf pan with butter or spray. Typical loaf pan sizes are 8.5×4.5 and 9×5 (inches). I used a 9x4x4 that has taller sides. I rarely use it, so I figured, why not?

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, vanilla scraping if using, and lemon zest for the count of 60 or so (until will blended).

Vanilla bean pods are one of those things. It’s so very expensive, but it makes for such a beautiful flavor. To scrape out the inside, first you need to split the pod in half and open it up. Using a sharp knife (I used a steak knife), just scrape out the insides with the tip of your knife.

Scraping vanilla out of a vanilla bean pod
Delicious fresh vanilla

To make it more economical to me, I re-purpose the leftover pods. I make vanilla sugar by putting them when I use one in a container with sugar. I can then use that vanilla sugar to bake with or even use it with some coconut or olive as a hand or body scrub. It’s awesome, try it some time! You will never buy sugar scrubs again, well unless you fall for cute packaging like me 😉

Homemade Vanilla Sugar
Save the leftover bean and others when you get them in sugar for vanilla sugar to use for baking or sugar scrubs for body care.

Next, have your butter cut into small pieces and using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut the butter into the flour mix until the flour looks like small peas. This isn’t a lot of butter, so it’s not going to be exactly like making a scone.

The reason you want your butter cold is because chemistry. Cold butter when used in baked goods releases little air pockets as it bakes and helps it “poof” up more. This is what I was told anyhow!

Whisk together your egg, vanilla or fiori di sicilia, and grapefruit juice in a separate container.

Wet + Dry ingredients for citrus cranberry loaf cake
Dry ingredients, wet ingredients, cranberries and prepared loaf pan.

Fiori di Sicilia is this beautiful orange and vanilla extract that I absolutely love. I buy it from King Arthur flour. It’s quite expensive though. And by the way, I am not endorsed by King Arthur Flour, I’m just a fan 🙂

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring just until blended. Don’t overwork the dough.

Fold in your cranberries.

Pour your dough into your pan… pouring is a bit of a misnomer as this batter is thick! It’s more like transferring into your pan and carefully spreading it out in the pan.

Citrus Cranberry Loaf Cake... ready for the oven
Ready to bake

Bake the cake for 55 to 65 minutes; or until you insert a knife or toothpick in the center and it comes back clean. Start checking on your cake at 50 minutes. If it’s too brown, tent some foil over it.

My cake took me just a tad over 60 minutes of baking time

To make your icing or glaze, whisk your orange zest (if using) with a very small pinch of salt and 1 cup of powdered/confectioners sugar. Add a couple of drops of vanilla. Start adding juice with 1 Tbsp… I used grapefruit juice. Whisk together and continue to add juice until your desired consistency. I like more of a glaze than an icing, so I ended up using 4 Tbsp of juice.

Yummy Fresh Orange Zest
Orange Zest… and a naked orange in the background that was a snack after I was done!

When done, Run a knife around the edges of the pan (between the pan and cake) to loosen the cake, but allow it to cool in the pan for a while. I’ve had these cakes fall apart when I tried to take it out of the pan too soon.

Once cooled enough to handle, transfer it to a wire cooling rack over a pan.

Once cooled completely, drizzle your glaze over it, allowing it to fall down the sides.

Glazed cake on wire rack with pan under to catch the drippings
I like a thinner glaze rather than an icing… 4 Tbsp of Grapefruit juice worked for me

I’m looking forward to sharing this cake tomorrow with my office mates.  I can’t give you an actual taste report as it would be poor form for me to slice a piece off now 😉

Trust me, I thought about it.

I think you could adjust this recipe to be just orange if you prefer. Orange and Cranberry is a classic combination. Even add some walnuts! I just wanted to use up some grapefruit juice I had leftover from making this most delicious iced tea: Grapefruit Mint Iced Tea

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