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. 

Make these! Little Cranberry Cardamom Loaves with Tangerine Glaze. Click To Tweet

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 katiemorford


  • 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.

This post includes affiliate links. Mom’s Kitchen Handbook earns a tiny percentage from purchases made from these links. Thank you for helping to support this site.