Enjoy a delightful fruit and nut loaf cake filled with chopped pecan chunks, cranberries, spiced up with a hint of cinnamon, and topped with a beautifully balanced sweet and tangy citrus icing.
Usually denser in texture, yet still moist, but with a lot less oil or fat than butter or sponge cakes, loaf cakes or ‘breads’ offer plenty of variety and versatility. I can really get carried away with loaf cakes, especially with fruit and nut varieties – I just about chock the batter full with my favourite combos of dried fruit and nuts, and I’ll bet’cha it’s going to turn out pretty good! Perhaps too good.
If you’ve been following my posts lately, I’ve been on a butter cake spree and on top of that, I’ve kind of gone off my rockers with a fruit obsession as well. Apples, coconuts, pears, bananas, and now joining that list, cranberries.
But not just any kind of dried cranberries. I’ve recently come across organic dried cranberries carried by the label Fruit d’Or from USA. I get these from my regular wholesale fruit stall that offers fresh and dried fruit produce in my neighbourhood of Tiong Bahru. I’ve also seen these in Giant hypermarkets and The Warehouse Club. This organic dried variety is sweetened with apple juice, which makes it just mildly sweet, not over the top sweet, which I find excellent.
What I really like about this variety is that these cranberries are surprisingly plump for being dried. Sink your teeth into one of these and it gives you a really good bite and chewy texture, perfect for loaf cakes! Add in toasted pecan chunks, ground cinnamon, a dose of orange zest, and you have a terrific ensemble of flavours and textures! Every bite hits all our sensory notes – it’s moist, crunchy, chewy, nutty, sweet, sour, tart and tangy! So go ahead and make your loaf today!
Pecan and Cranberry Loaf Cake
- 100 g unsalted butter plus extra for greasing
- 100 g light brown sugar
- 100 g dried cranberries roughly chopped
- 100 g pecans roughly chopped, lightly toasted
- 2 oranges - finely grated orange zest only
- 2 eggs
- 125 ml milk
- 225 g self-raising flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
For the Icing (Optional):
- 100 g icing sugar or confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 orange - juice only
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C (350 deg F). Grease a 9-inch loaf tin with extra butter and lightly dust with flour. Shake off the excess flour.
- In a pan, melt the butter. Leave to cool slightly, about 10 minutes, then stir in the sugar, cranberries, pecans, and grated zest of 1 orange. Stir till ingredients are well mixed and well coated.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Then add the whisked egg mixture into the pan, and stir till well mixed.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and ground cinnamon. Fold into the batter using light moves until all flour is well incorporated. Pour into greased loaf tin.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake emerges free of coating. If the skewer emerges slightly coated with batter, bake for a few minutes more, and test again. When baking is finished, remove the loaf tin from the oven and let the cake cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack.
- Slice and serve warm without icing, or once completely cooled, drizzle over with icing, let icing dry before slicing and serving.
For the Icing (Optional):
- In a mixing bowl, mix together the icing sugar and remaining orange zest. Add orange juice, little by little, until the icing mixture reaches drizzling consistency. Drizzle the icing over the cooled cake and leave to dry before slicing. Serve as desired.