This Better Than Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bread has all the bells and whistles of the original cranberry bars, but in an irresistible pound cake form. Skip the coffee shop and stay home and bake!
My better than Starbuck’s cranberry bliss bread is one of the best perks of fall!
I delight in everything about this season, and even though it’s a cliche, I still get a warm rush when Starbuck’s brings out the pumpkin lattes. But I think everyone can agree that while their coffee is pretty fantastic, their baked stuff has taken a nosedive in recent years. There was a time when I was happy to splurge on maple oat nut scones and pumpkin breads, but not anymore. Now I grab my coffee solo, because I know I’ve got an even better treat waiting for me at home.
The base of this ‘bread’ is a rich buttery cake made with part whole wheat flour and studded with dried cranberries and white chocolate chips. The thick vanilla frosting is covered with more cranberries, and then the whole thing is drizzled with white chocolate. It’s fun, festive, and way better than the dried out squares in the case.
tvfgi recommends: the perfect loaf pan
Loaf pans can be surprisingly tricky to work with because they come in all kinds of sizes and most recipes aren’t specific about the dimensions. This is the classic 1 1/4 pound, 9×5 loaf pan that is your best bet for most recipes. USA pans are my favorite because they’re sturdy, and made here in the US.
I recommend having at least 2 loaf pans in your collection because some recipes are formulated for 2 loaves.
Part of the appeal of the cranberry bliss franchise is that gorgeous top. It just screams holiday! It’s a yummy combination of a creamy white frosting, drizzled white chocolate, and sweet/tart cranberries for a pop of color.
TIP: some white chocolate can be tricky to melt. Adding a teaspoon of vegetable oil to the chocolate before melting can help prevent it from seizing. Go low and slow, whether you melt it in the microwave, or a double boiler on the stove.
Do you love to copy Starbucks recipes as much as I do? Try my other copy cat recipes~
Better than Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bread
- standard 9x5 loaf pan
- 1 cup flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 stick, 1/2 cup, 113 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, plus a handful more for scattering over the frosting
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- milk or cream to thin
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 tsp coconut or vegetable oil
- Set oven to 350F
- Whisk together the flours, soda, powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla.
- Gently mix in the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
- Fold in the cranberries and chocolate chips.
- Turn the batter into a greased standard (9x5) loaf pan. I like to line it with a sheet of parchment paper to make it easy to remove the cake after baking. Bake for 55 minutes to an hour until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it. Don't over bake, check it early. Let the cake cool before you frost it.
- To make the frosting mix the sugar with enough milk or cream to create a thick spreadable consistency.. Blend in the vanilla. Spread over the top of the cooled cake. Scatter with dried cranberries.
- Make the chocolate drizzle by melting the chocolate and the oil in a small (clean and dry!) microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds and stir to melt. If necessary microwave for another few seconds, but be careful not to over do it.
- When the chocolate is smooth, take a spoon and drizzle it all over the top of the cake in a criss-cross pattern.
Questions and Reviews
Fantastic recipe. I perfected the bars a number of years ago. A couple of suggestions, 1. replace some of the water/milk in the frosting with lemon juice 2. Add one tbsp grated orange zest in the batter. Occasionally I added chopped pistachios to the top. The color combo with the cranberries is very holiday festive and the sweet-salty contrast is yummy. I agree, the bars dry out far too quickly, thank you for doing the legwork on this recipe. They are my daughters fave
Thanks so much Jacquie ~ I like your tweaks 🙂
Just found this Amazing recipe. I LOVE CRANBERRIES . Can I use all purpose flour instead of white and wheat flour?
Yes, you sure can Lana, hope you love it!
In England we don’t use cups or “sticks” as you probably know. whilst I can get around most of the receipt can you tell me how I measure the butter please. I have no idea what a stick is and short of melting butter into a cup and then letting it harden, I have no idea!
Many thanks in advance.
That would be 113 grams Jeanette.
Does this freeze well? I’m thinking of making this to give as Christmas gifts this year. Do you think I could make the loaf, freeze it, and then thaw it shortly before giving and do the frosting, drizzle, etc. then?
I think most quick breads freeze well, so if you double wrap it and get it pretty airtight, it should be fine.
Can you use reg milk instead of buttermilk ?
That should be fine, Jean. You can also make your own ‘buttermilk’ by adding a little lemon juice or vinegar to regular milk. For every cup of milk I add a tablespoon of acidic lemon or vinegar.
Aha, take that Starbucks! You’re coffee always made my stomach quesy anyway and you’re food is way to expensive.
Though I will admit, their cheese, greens and tomato sandwiches (especially the one with feta) I do like. But again, so expensive! Do you have any diy’s for their sandwiches??
I haven’t done a copy cat sandwich, that will have to be next!
Made this for Christmas Eve and it was amazing! The only caveat I would have is that people need to use clear Vanilla extract; I used the kind from Mexico and while it tasted phenomenal, it discolored the frosting! Ack!
My husband and I baked this bread together. Was easy. Smelled delightful while baking. Expectations were high. Let it cool and drizzled all the dreamy white chocolate over it. Got our hot tea ready for our much anticipated “first piece”. It was just “okay”. Couldn’t put our finger on it until the second piece. It was dry!! I didn’t even notice during prep that there is no oil in this bread. Did oil, of some kind, get left out of the recipe accidentally? If not, what can we do to remedy this? We really want to try this again! Help!!
Marsha and Glen
Hi Marsha and Glen! This recipe uses butter, not oil, and should have a nice pound cake type texture. Is it possible you left out the butter? Another possible reason for the dryness might be that your oven runs hot, and the bread was accidentally over-cooked. If you want to try this with oil instead of butter, you would use about 20% less oil, so a little bit less than 1/2 cup. Hope this helps!
I cannot wait to try this recipe! I was just wondering, would it work if I used a mini loaf pan and decreased the cooking time? I’m hosting a cookie exchange this weekend and would like to give these as little gifts to my guests!
Sure, that would be fine. I think the rule of thumb is to reduce the oven temp by 25 degrees, and bake for about 25 minutes, but I would do a test loaf to be sure, Hannah, since they’re going to be gifts.
Could I use all white flour? I hate to buy a bag of wheat, for just this recipe! Has anyone tried it that way?
Yes absolutely Renee, it will work fine.