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Healthy Lemon Cranberry Bread (1 bowl!)





Crunchy and golden brown on the outside, and soft and cakey on the inside, this healthier lemon cranberry bread is made in one bowl. Bursting with tart cranberries, with a hint of lemon flavor and crunchy coarse sugar on top.

Quick breads are my go-to when I get the baking bug, but don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. From zucchini bread to pumpkin bread, they are so simple to mix up, and are perfect served with a cup of coffee.


For extra tasty recipes and to see what I’ve been getting as much as you may observe me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter .

cranberry loaf in loaf pan after baking

This lemon cranberry bread is another favorite: with cranberries in every bite, it’s mildly sweet, soft and cakey, and will make your kitchen smell amazing.


Why you’ll ♡ lemon cranberry bread

  • it mixes up in a single bowl and can easily be ready before your oven has pre-heated
  • the contrast between the crunchy raw sugar on top and the soft, cakey inside is divine
  • it’s healthier, made without refined sugar and part whole wheat flour

ingredients required to make cranberry loaf

Ingredient notes

  • cranberries– you may use fresh or frozen cranberries. If using frozen, do not thaw before mixing them in.
  • applesauce- adds natural sweetness and moisture to the loaf. Use unsweetened applesauce; store bought works great or make your own Instant Pot applesauce
  • maple syrup– acts as a liquid sweetener, you can swap for honey
  • flour– I’ve use a mixture of whole wheat and all purpose flour; you may use 100% all purpose flour or 100% white whole wheat; do not use 100% whole wheat flour
  • coconut oil– refined coconut oil prevents this loaf from having a prominent coconut flavor, you can swap for vegetable oil or melted butter.
  • eggs– are essential to bind and add structure to the loaf; I do not know if egg replacers would work in this recipe
  • milk– any dairy or non-dairy milk will work; I’ve used 1% dairy milk in these photos and have used unsweetened almond milk in testing
  • lemon– to bring citrussy flavor without sourness, we use the zest of the lemon. You may want to purchase organic lemons when zesting, and make sure to wash and dry well before zesting.

collage image showing how to make cranberry loaf

Step by step directions

Scroll directly to the recipe card for ingredient quantities.

  1. Prepare the loaf pan– In order to ensure the loaf pops out of the pan easily, we start by greasing and flouring the pan. Thinly coat the pan in spray oil, softened butter or coconut oil, and make sure to get the bottom, all sides, and right into the corners. Next, add 1/4 cup of flour. Tap the pan, rotating it until all surfaces are coated (you may want to do this over a sink as some of the flour may fall out). Tap excess flour back into the flour container. The baking pan should be coated thinly in flour.
  2. Mix together wet ingredients– In a large glass measuring cup, melt the coconut oil, then stir in the maple syrup, applesauce, vanilla, eggs and milk. Stir with a spatula until smooth. If you find the coconut oil solidifies, forming solid white lumps, place the bowl back in the microwave and heat in 20 second increments until melted again.
  3. Add in the rest of the ingredients– Start by adding the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt onto the wet ingredients. Mix everything together until no pockets of flour remain. Next, fold in the cranberries and lemon zest until evenly distributed throughout the batter.
  4. Add to the loaf pan- Scrape the mixture from the bowl into the loaf pan. Using a spatula, spread the top of the mixture into all corners, until smooth across the top. Add extra cranberries to the top of the loaf, and sprinkle evenly with the raw sugar.
  5. Bake- Bake at 325°F for 55- 1h5m, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

How to tell when it’s done

There are a few different ways to tell when your cranberry bread is baked through. The standard way is to insert a toothpick into the center of the loaf. If it comes out clean, your bread is ready. If sticky batter is stuck to the toothpick, it needs to go back into the oven.

Another way to check is to use a digital thermometer inserted into the middle of the bread. Once it reaches 190-200°F, it’s ready to come out.

Serving cranberry bread

Allow the cranberry bread to cool for 15 minutes, then work a knife around the loaf pan, turn it over on a cutting board, and give it a firm smack. This should release the cranberry bread from the pan.

Serve with butter.

overhead view of cranberry loaf on plate

Storage + freezer directions

We love to double this recipe and freeze one loaf of lemon cranberry bread. Cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap (or beeswax wrap) and store in an air tight container or freezer bag (use a straw to suck out any air).

  • Fridge- store for up to 1 week wrapped in plastic or beeswax wrap in the fridge.
  • Freeze- for up to 3 months.
  • Thaw- overnight in the fridge.

Swaps + variations

  • cranberry- swap half the cranberries for one peeled + chopped apple or pear
  • lemon zest- swap for orange or lime zest
  • raw sugar- easy enough to leave it off; you could consider swapping for sweetened shredded coconut (like in these coconut cranberry muffins)
  • nuts- you could add in some chopped walnuts or pecans for a crunchy texture and nutty flavor

slice of cranberry loaf on plate

More easy baking projects

Healthy Lemon Cranberry Bread (1 Bowl!)

Course: Snack

Cuisine: American

Keyword: brunch, Christmas, cranberries

Calories: 244kcal

Author: Denise Bustard

Servings: 8 slices

Crunchy and golden brown on the outside, and soft and cakey on the inside, this healthier lemon cranberry bread is made in one bowl. Bursting with tart cranberries, with a hint of lemon flavor and crunchy coarse sugar on top.

Prep Time15 mins

Cook Time1 hr

Total Time1 hr 15 mins

Instructions

  • Prepare the loaf pan– In order to ensure the loaf pops out of the pan easily, we start by greasing and flouring the pan. see note 6 for specific directions.

  • Mix together wet ingredients– In a large glass measuring cup, melt the coconut oil, then stir in the maple syrup, applesauce, vanilla, eggs and milk. Stir with a spatula until smooth. see note 7 if your coconut oil solidifies

  • Add in the rest of the ingredients– Start by adding the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt onto the wet ingredients. Mix everything together until no pockets of flour remain. Next, fold in the cranberries and lemon zest until evenly distributed throughout the batter.

  • Add to the loaf pan- Scrape the mixture from the bowl into the loaf pan. Using a spatula, spread the top of the mixture into all corners, until smooth across the top. Add extra cranberries to the top of the loaf, and sprinkle evenly with the raw sugar.

  • Bake- Bake at 325°F for 55- 1h5m, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Notes

1- I recommend using refined coconut oil to reduce the ‘coconutty’ flavor
2- you may swap the maple syrup for honey or brown sugar
3- regular dairy milk or buttermilk may be swapped in
4- all purpose flour may be swapped for an equal volume/weight of white whole wheat flour, or for a mixture of half whole wheat flour, half all purpose flour
5- if using frozen cranberries, do not thaw before adding them
6- Thinly coat the pan in spray oil, softened butter or coconut oil, and make sure to get the bottom, all sides, and right into the corners. Next, add 1/4 cup of flour. Tap the pan, rotating it until all surfaces are coated (you may want to do this over a sink as some of the flour may fall out. Tap excess flour back into the flour container. The baking pan should be coated thinly in flour.
7- If you find the coconut oil solidifies, forming solid white lumps, place the bowl back in the microwave and heat in 20 second increments until melted again.
Storage
Cool the loaf completely, then either wrap in plastic wrap, or place into an air tight meal prep container.
Store at room temperature for up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.
To serve
Heat in the microwave for 10-20 seconds, until lightly warmed. 
Spread with butter, and enjoy with a fork.
Variations

  • cranberry- swap half the cranberries for one peeled + chopped apple or pear
  • lemon zest- swap for orange or lime zest
  • raw sugar- easy enough to leave it off; you could consider swapping for sweetened shredded coconut
  • nuts- you could add in some chopped walnuts or pecans for a crunchy texture and nutty flavor

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 244kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 243mg | Potassium: 138mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 71IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 1mg






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