Little Cranberry Cardamom Loaves with Tangerine Glaze

Cranberry quick bread

You know it’s a good gift when it’s one you want to keep for yourself instead of give away. Case in point is this Cardamom Cranberry Bread with Tangerine Glaze. It’s heavily studded with tart cranberries in a just-sweet-enough bread drizzled with a citrusy syrup. It’s so good, you might find yourself slicing in while loaves are still warm from the oven just as your child enters the kitchen and asks, “wasn’t that supposed to be for my teacher?”

Hello moi.

In addition to hitting the high mark for yumminess, this bread also covers all of my holiday “musts” when it comes to homemade treats.

~Must be seasonal.

Holiday goodies should make sense for this time of year above and beyond any other. Think persimmons and nutmeg, cranberries and walnuts, pumpkin and chocolate, eggnog and cinnamon sugar.

~Must be affordable.

The real gift of the homemade gift is the care you put into it. It’s doesn’t need to break the bank, too.

~Must be done with relative ease.

Holiday baking needn’t take over your kitchen or your life to be special. There is too much other good stuff going on to hide in the kitchen for the duration.

cranberry bread with tangerine glaze

Indeed, these loaves are seasonal, not too fancy or fussy, and one of the best cranberry bread recipes I can remember making or eating. Your one expense might be to invest in a set of mini loaf pans,  a worthy purchase in my book, something I use all year long. Alternatively, the bread can be made in a standard loaf pan or you can pick up little paper loaf pans like these.

I hope you make them. And if you do, be sure to keep at least one for yourself and to remember the most important “must” of all.

~Must be made with love

The best ingredient I know.

For more quick bread recipes, check out this Double Chocolate Zucchini one or this hearty, gluten-free and crazy-addictive-in-its-own-way Adventure Bread. I’ve also got my eye on the Orange Pecan Tea Bread over on Cooking Light. You can find more holiday food gift ideas by heading here. 

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cranberry bread with tangerine glaze
5 from 1 vote

Little Cranberry Cardamom Loaves with Tangerine Glaze

The tangerine glaze in this recipe is a nice finish, but not essential, so skip it if you prefer. If preparing loaves in bulk, you can double the recipe, making six mini loaves or two standard loaves. Be sure to use a very large mixing bowl and stir the dough gently and just enough, so that your finished loaves are pleasingly tender.
Course Baked Goods
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 3 mini loaves or 1 standard loaf.
Author Katie Morford


  • 1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup fresh tangerine/mandarin juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (salted or unsalted)
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups roughly chopped fresh cranberries (see notes)

For the Glaze (optional)

  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 scant tablespoon fresh tangerine juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three mini loaf pans (mine are 5 3/4" x 3") or 1 standard loaf pan with oil or butter. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole-wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, cardamom, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, vigorously beat together (by hand or with an electric mixer) the buttermilk, tangerine juice, sugar, and egg. Slowly add the melted to butter, beating continuously until it is blended.
  3. Add the flour mixture to the bowl with the liquids and mix just until incorporated with no obvious streaks of flour.
  4. Add the cranberries to the batter and use a rubber spatula to mix just until blended. Do not overmix!
  5. Transfer the batter to the loaf pan(s) and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top of a loaf is fairly firm to the touch. About 40 minutes for a 5 3/4" x 3" mini loaf, 1 hour for a standard-size loaf.
  6. Let the breads cool completely before glazing or slicing.
  7. To make the glaze, put the confectioners' sugar in a small bowl, add the tangerine juice, and whisk until smooth. Drizzle over the top of each loaf. Wait until the glaze has cooled and hardened before wrapping.

Recipe Notes

A 12-ounce bag of cranberries has about 3 cups of cranberries. If frozen, put in a colander and run under warm water to expedite defrosting. Chop by hand or by pulsing in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. I like to pack my loaves with cranberries, but feel free to scale back to 2 cups instead of 2 1/2, if desired.

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12.09.2016 at12:22 PM #

Jessica @ Nutritioulicious

I just made my Cranberry Orange Bread for a friend’s brunch last week. It’s such a delicious flavor combo. I need to get some cardamom to try that addition. Bet it adds a nice warming flavor.

12.09.2016 at6:01 PM #

Anne|Craving Something Healthy

Oh, these flavors! What a wonderful recipe! I’ll be trying this one soon 🙂

12.11.2016 at5:20 AM #

Katie | Healthy Seasonal Recipes

I am going to have to go to the store to get these ingredients because now I am totally craving these. My mom always made cranberry bread for Christmas and it is such a nostalgic thing for me.

12.11.2016 at1:31 PM #


These are beautiful loaves!! I love the flavors you’ve combined, and I wish I could have a bite right now. 🙂

12.11.2016 at8:22 PM #

Julie @ RDelicious Kitchen

I always make little loafs for my neighbors. I’ll have to add this recipe in the mix!

12.21.2016 at4:43 PM #


Oh my gosh, orange and cardamom are two of my favorite flavors! I have all the ingredients and am definitely going to make these!

12.21.2016 at4:43 PM #

Katie Morford

Mine too, Melanie! Enjoy.

12.21.2016 at5:59 PM #


How about adding chopped walnuts? or raisins? or both? (Too much?)

12.21.2016 at5:59 PM #

Katie Morford

I would definitely add walnuts. I’d be inclined to scale back the cranberries, maybe to 1 1/2 to 2 cups and then add 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts.

12.21.2016 at7:48 PM #



12.21.2016 at7:48 PM #

Katie Morford

Hi Sally, I’d probably use 1 cup of all-purpose flour and 3/4 cup of whole-wheat flour if I didn’t have whole-wheat pastry flour. I think it will still be delicious!

12.23.2016 at12:18 PM #

Jo Ann Piehl

I am diabetic so recipes with the number of carbs listed are greatly appreciated.

12.24.2018 at5:33 PM #

Mike Moran

It’s all about the protein so if you cannot find a whole wheat pastry flour just mix a half a cup of high-quality whole wheat flour and a half cups of cake flour then round out your recipe with a three-quarter cup of all purpose flour I think it will be quite pleased with the results

12.13.2020 at5:44 PM #

Cindy R.

I made the mini loaves and they were fantastic…so tasty. I mistakenly bought regular whole wheat flour, not whole wheat pastry flour. Therefore I swapped in 3/8 all purpose flour and 5/8 cake flour. I will try it again when I buy the proper flour, but this recipe is a keeper. Thanks!

12.13.2020 at5:44 PM #

Katie Morford

Wonderful…and terrific job making it work with what you’ve got. That’s the sign of a true home cook!

11.13.2021 at9:09 PM #


Hi – where did you get the cute red and white ribbon wrapped around the loaf?

11.13.2021 at9:09 PM #

Katie Morford

It’s called baker’s twine. Not sure where I got it, but it’s not hard to find. Try Google 🙂

12.21.2021 at9:19 AM #


Hi- I love this recipe and have tried it many times! I am wondering if I can swap all the flours with a gluten free flour? (I have on called All Purpose GF) 1 to 1 baking flour- so it seems that I could just try an even swap with this kind. What do you think/have you or anyone tried a GF version? Thanks!

12.21.2021 at9:19 AM #

Katie Morford

I haven’t done it, but I do think quick breads and muffins work reasonably well with that type of flour. You won’t get the same rise. Let me know if you try it.

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