Looking for a new mini-loaf for the holidays? This is a VERY tasty one that is easy to make (it doesn’t even take a mixer). It freezes well (if there is any left) AND….it’s just a little different than the routine banana breads.
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
zest of (1) orange (see note)
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup cranberries – roughly chopped (see note)
In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt and baking powder (set aside)
In a small bowl, mix the sugar and orange zest (rub these 2 ingredients together with fingers, then mix it into the flour mixture.
In another bowl, mix the buttermilk, vegetable oil, beaten eggs, orange juice and vanilla.
Slowly add the wet bowl to the bowl of flour-sugar. Stir just until well mixed, but don’t over mix.
Gently fold in the flour coated chopped cranberries (see tip)
Divide into 3 (greased) mini loaf pans (mine are 5 3/4″ x 3″)
Bake in preheated 350° oven 30-35 minutes (my electric oven takes exactly 35 minutes.
Let cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then gently tip out and wrap in plastic wrap while still hot. Frost when completely cool.
FROSTING: 2 cups powdered sugar + 3 tablespoons orange juice + 1 teaspoon orange zest + 1 1/2 teasoons vanilla. Mix well and drizzle over loaves. If it seems a little thick, add a tablespoon of milk.
TIP: I always wrap my baked goods like these sweet loaves or ANY cake, in plastic wrap while it’s still HOT. Yes, you can wrap a very hot cake with plastic wrap without melting the plastic. When you cool a cake in plastic, it comes out super moist. I’ve done it that way for decades.
TIP: Roughly chop the cranberries (not too small) I use my food processor and just pulse in a couple of times.
TIP: I remove a scant tablespoon of the flour called for in the recipe and toss the chopped cranberries with it. That keeps them from floating to the top when the loaf bakes.
TIP: Be careful when you zest your orange. Don’t get ANY of the white pith from under the bright orange skin because it’s bitter.
TIP: When you put the zest into the sugar, take an extra few seconds to really rub the sugar and zest together with your fingers.