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Cream Cheese Cranberry Loaf

Cream Cheese Cranberry Loaf – A Festive and Flavorful Delight

 

As the holiday season approaches, there’s no better way to embrace the festive spirit than by indulging in delightful, homemade treats. Our Cream Cheese Cranberry Loaf is the perfect addition to your holiday baking repertoire. With a luscious cream cheese filling and tart cranberry sauce swirled through a moist, tender loaf, it’s a slice of heaven that will have your taste buds singing with joy. Whether you’re sharing it with loved ones or savoring it by the fire, this loaf captures the essence of the holidays in every bite.

Ingredients:

For the Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 8 oz (1 block) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the Cranberry Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest (optional, for a citrusy twist)

For the Loaf:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Instructions:

Making the Cream Cheese Filling:

  1. In a medium bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until it’s smooth and creamy.
  2. Add the granulated sugar, egg, and vanilla extract to the cream cheese. Beat until the mixture is well combined. Set this cream cheese filling aside.

Preparing the Cranberry Sauce:

  1. In a saucepan, combine the cranberries, granulated sugar, water, and orange zest (if using).
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries burst and the sauce thickens (about 10-12 minutes). Remove it from the heat and let it cool.
  3. Once the cranberry sauce is cool, you can run it through a blender or food processor for a smoother texture if desired.

Making the Loaf:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour a 9×5-inch (23×13 cm) loaf pan.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set this dry mixture aside.
  3. In another large mixing bowl, cream together the softened butter and granulated sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, ensuring each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the dry mixture. Mix until just combined.

Assembling and Baking:

  1. Pour half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan and spread it evenly.
  2. Add the cream cheese filling on top of the first layer of batter, spreading it gently with a spatula.
  3. Spoon dollops of the cranberry sauce over the cream cheese filling.
  4. Pour the remaining batter over the cranberry sauce, gently spreading it to cover the cranberries.
  5. Use a knife to create swirls in the batter for a marbled effect.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If the top begins to brown too quickly, you can tent it with aluminum foil.
  7. Allow the loaf to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cook’s Notes:

  • Cranberry Sauce: If you prefer a smoother cranberry texture in the loaf, you can puree the cranberry sauce in a blender or food processor until it reaches your desired consistency.
  • Storage: Store any leftover Cream Cheese Cranberry Loaf in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • Serving: Enjoy a slice of this delicious loaf with a cup of tea, coffee, or a dollop of freshly whipped cream. It’s a perfect holiday treat and a lovely addition to your festive gatherings.

This Cream Cheese Cranberry Loaf combines the tangy allure of cranberries with the richness of cream cheese, resulting in a holiday dessert that’s both beautiful and delicious. Share this loaf with friends and family, or savor it as a special treat during the holiday season. 🍞🍒

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