Make Ahead

Cranberry-Pecan Banana Bread

November  7, 2012
2 Ratings
  • Makes One Loaf
Author Notes

I have a weakness when it comes to cranberries. In part it’s because there’s such a short window to buy fresh ones – and pretty much every time I go grocery shopping, I convince myself that I better buy a few bags lest they disappear. I love throwing them into scones and muffins, making relish (why cranberry relish is a once-a-year dish, I’ll never understand), and using them to bake Emily Luchetti’s cranberry pumpkin pecan upside-down cake (highly recommended if you've never tried it). So it kind of shocks me that it took me so long to figure out to put them in banana bread. To create this recipe, I adapted my favorite banana bread, Melissa Clark’s Lemony Olive Oil Banana Bread. In addition to cranberries, I added toasted pecans, orange juice, orange zest and ginger – since cranberries kind of beg to be paired with orange and ginger – and made the vanilla more prominent. Whatever you do, don’t skip the glaze. The addition of dark brown sugar makes it more complex than your typical powdered sugar glaze (an idea I borrowed from Heidi Swanson), and it’s fragrant and full of flavor from the vanilla and orange. Tightly covered, the bread should keep for several days. I’m planning to make it in mini loaf pans to give as holiday gifts. —EmilyC

What You'll Need
  • For the bread
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup of toasted chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups ULTRA ripe bananas (from about 3 bananas), mashed with a fork into a smooth puree
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (2% or full fat is best)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 2 T orange juice
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • For the glaze
  • 1/4 cup sifted dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' (powdered) sugar
  • 3 tsp orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9- by 5- inch loaf pan. I like to line the bottom of the loaf pan with parchment to ensure easy removal.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, salt, and ground ginger.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the olive oil, eggs, mashed banana, yogurt, orange zest, orange juice, and vanilla. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Fold in the cranberries and pecans, again just until combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 50 to 60 minutes. (Sometimes my loaves have taken up to 75 minutes; use the toothpick test, not time, as your main guide.) Remove from oven to a wire rack. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan to cool completely.
  4. While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. In a bowl, whisk together the sugars, orange juice and vanilla until smooth; if necessary, add more juice or sugar until your glaze reaches the right consistency for drizzling. When the cake is completely cool, drizzle the glaze on top of the bread.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • luvcookbooks
  • hardlikearmour
  • EmilyC
  • Barb

Recipe by: EmilyC

I'm a home cook. I love salads. Two things you'll always find in my refrigerator are lemons and butter, and in my pantry good quality chocolate and the makings for chocolate chip cookies.

9 Reviews

Barb June 27, 2021
This banana bread is outstanding!!!
I didn’t have wheat flour so used 2 c flour. So moist and delicious.
I’m 79, bake almost every day, and this recipe is my new banana nut recipe!! Thank you!
luvcookbooks November 21, 2014
Brought this to work and it disappeared in a minute. I love the not too sweetness of it... it went nicely with camembert cheese(skipped the glaze). Your recipes are so well thought out, thanks!
EmilyC November 22, 2014
Meg -- what a lovely note, thanks! So glad this was a hit with you and your coworkers. Thanks for letting me know.
Christine December 8, 2013
Just made this and it was soooo good! My guests love it and made many positive comments!
EmilyC December 8, 2013
So happy to hear this, Christine! Thanks for trying it and reporting back!
Muse November 14, 2012
This looks absolutely delicious...can't wait to make it!
EmilyC November 14, 2012
That's great to hear! Let me know how it turns out if you try it!
hardlikearmour November 10, 2012
I'm not much of a banana bread fan - it's usually one-note and overly sweet to me - but your version sounds fantastic!
EmilyC November 10, 2012
Thank you HLA! The tart cranberries, ginger and orange definitely balance the sweetness of the banana and give the loaf a lot of flavor.