This sweet cranberry apricot loaf made our house smell like Christmas morning. It is soft, moist, crumbly and loaded with tang of cranberries and apricots.

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This sweet Cranberry Apricot Loaf made our house smell like Christmas morning. It is soft, moist, crumbly and loaded with the sweet tang of cranberries and apricots. This Cranberry Apricot Loaf is infused with clementine zest. And it’s amazing! I’m craving a slice just writing about it. Good thing we made it today and still have some left. Phew!

We’ve been experimenting with different Keks recipes and this is our favorite. Keks is a traditional Russian Christmas dessert bread. It’s a cross between a coffee cake and a fruit cake; definitely a comfort food. This recipe was inspired by one of our readers, Tanya, who shared her family’s keks recipe with us. Tanya, I love that you use kefir. It balances the whole loaf and makes it so so good!

Ingredients for Keks

1 1/2 cups plain kefir (this is not the same as buttermilk; found it at Fred Meyer)
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
2 large eggs (cold is ok)
1 stick (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted (but not hot)
4 Tbsp extra light olive oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour *measured correctly
1 tsp clementine or orange zest
1/2 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
1/2 cup dried apricots

Cranberry Apricot Loaf

How to Make a Cranberry Apricot Loaf:

Preheat the Oven to 350 ˚ F. Butter and flour a bread loaf pan.
1. Whisk together 1 1/2 cups kefir and 1 tsp baking soda together in a medium bowl and set aside for 20 minutes.

Cranberry Apricot Loaf-6

It will look fluffier when it’s ready:

Cranberry Apricot Loaf-2

2. Chop dried apricots into pieces about the size of your dried cranberries. In a medium bowl, cover craisins and dried apricots with boiling hot water and let sit two (2) minutes, then drain well and set aside to dry in a colander.

Cranberry Apricot Loaf-7

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs and sugar until pale in color (3 min on high speed). Mix in 1 stick melted butter, 4 Tbsp olive oil and  1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Stir to combine.

Cranberry Apricot Loaf-8

Cranberry Apricot Loaf-9

4. Whisk in the prepared kefir and baking soda until well blended.

Cranberry Apricot Loaf-10

5. Mix in the 2 cups flour until everything is well blended.

Cranberry Apricot Loaf-11

6. Finally fold in the craisins, chopped apricots and clementine or orange zest.

Cranberry Apricot Loaf-12

7. Transfer the batter to your prepared baking pan and give it a little shake to even out the top.

Cranberry Apricot Loaf-13

Bake in the center of the oven at 350˚F for 60 to 70 minutes. (make sure your bread isn’t too close to the top of the oven or the top will get too dark). Check the center with a wooden toothpick. It’s done when the toothpick comes out clean.

Let the loaf cool inside the pan until cool enough to handle, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. You don’t want to add powdered sugar if it’s warm or it will melt onto the bread. Finally, dust with powdered sugar and enjoy.

Cranberry Apricot Loaf-3
This sweet cranberry apricot loaf made our house smell like Christmas morning. It is soft, moist, crumbly and loaded with tang of cranberries and apricots.

Merry Christmas! Do you have any special holiday baking traditions?

Natasha's Kitchen Cookbook

Cranberry Apricot Loaf (A Keks Recipe)

4.96 from 22 votes
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
This sweet cranberry apricot loaf made our house smell like Christmas morning. It is soft, moist, crumbly and loaded with tang of cranberries and apricots.
This sweet bread made our house smell like Christmas morning. It is soft, moist, crumbly and loaded with the sweet tang of cranberries and apricots. And it's infused with clementine zest. And it's amazing! I'm craving a slice just writing about it. Good thing we made it today and still have some left. Phew! We've been experimenting with different Keks recipes and this is our favorite. Keks is a traditional Russian Christmas dessert bread. It's a cross between a coffee cake and a fruit cake; definitely a comfort food.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Ingredients 

Servings: 8 slices form a loaf
  • 1 1/2 cups plain kefir, this is not the same as buttermilk; found it at Fred Meyer
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs, cold is ok
  • 1 stick, 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted (but not hot)
  • 4 Tbsp extra light olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp clementine or orange zest
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, craisins
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots

Instructions

  • Preheat the Oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a bread loaf pan.
  • Whisk together 1 1/2 cups kefir and 1 tsp baking soda together in a medium bowl and set aside for 20 minutes. It will look fluffier when it's ready:
  • Chop dried apricots into pieces about the size of your dried cranberries. In a medium bowl, cover craisins and dried apricots with boiling hot water and let sit two (2) minutes, then drain well and set aside to dry in a colander.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs and sugar until pale in color (3 min on high speed). Mix in 1 stick melted butter (not hot butter, just warm), 4 Tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Stir to combine.
  • Whisk in the prepared kefir and baking soda until well blended.
  • Mix in the 2 cups flour until everything is well blended.
  • Finally fold in the craisins, chopped apricots and clementine zest.
  • Transfer the batter to your prepared baking pan and give it a little shake to even out the top.
  • Bake in the center of the oven at 350 for 60 to 70 minutes. Check the center with a wooden toothpick. It's done when the toothpick comes out clean. Let the loaf cool inside the pan until cool enough to handle, then transfer to a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Once it's cooled, dust with powdered sugar and enjoy.

Notes

PS. Make sure your bread isn't too close to the top of the oven while baking or the top will get too dark.
PPS. You don't want to add powdered sugar to a warm loaf or it will melt onto the bread. Let it cool completely to room temp.

Nutrition Per Serving

1g Serving436kcal Calories82g Carbs6g Protein10g Fat2g Saturated Fat47mg Cholesterol178mg Sodium143mg Potassium2g Fiber56g Sugar444IU Vitamin A1mg Vitamin C72mg Calcium2mg Iron
Nutrition Facts
Cranberry Apricot Loaf (A Keks Recipe)
Serving Size
 
1 g
Amount per Serving
Calories
436
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
10
g
15
%
Saturated Fat
 
2
g
13
%
Cholesterol
 
47
mg
16
%
Sodium
 
178
mg
8
%
Potassium
 
143
mg
4
%
Carbohydrates
 
82
g
27
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
56
g
62
%
Protein
 
6
g
12
%
Vitamin A
 
444
IU
9
%
Vitamin C
 
1
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
72
mg
7
%
Iron
 
2
mg
11
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: German, Polish
Keyword: Cranberry Apricot Loaf, Keks
Skill Level: Easy/Medium
Cost to Make: $
Calories: 436

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Natasha Kravchuk

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved and tested recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Comments

  • Rosemary John
    December 14, 2023

    Hi Natasha!
    Love all your recipes. I follow them all. Get a lot of praises from my folks for all of them. Fudgy brownies, apricot-cranberry loaf, beef stew, almond snowballs and more… Thank you for all the good work.
    I’ve a question regarding the apricot-cranberry loaf. How long will it last in the refrigerator?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      December 14, 2023

      That’s great, Rosemary! This loaf will last in the refrigerator for several days. You can freeze it for longer storage.

      Reply

  • Linda
    August 9, 2023

    I know I can’t find Kifir here, I was thinking about using plain yogurt, would this work?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 9, 2023

      Hi Linda! This is what one of my readers said, “tested out today and use yogurt mixed with some milk (I don’t have any kefir) , only used less than 1 cup of sugar , add some golden raisins And it turned out moist and light and yummy!”

      Reply

  • Jill
    October 25, 2022

    Just made this and it was exceptional. Definitely a keeper. Thank you

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      October 25, 2022

      You’re welcome! I’m so happy you enjoyed it, Jill!

      Reply

  • Inna
    January 11, 2022

    If I remember correctly, traditional Russian keks is made with raisins. Which is what I used instead of apricots and cranberries . Came out GREAT!! My husband, who doesn’t usually eat a lot of sweets, had three slices. Love your blog!!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 11, 2022

      Thank you so much for sharing that with me, Inna! I’m so glad you’re enjoying my blog & recipes!

      Reply

  • Justine
    December 16, 2021

    Hi Natasha, just curious, can I make this with fresh cranberries instead of dried cranberries? And What is the reason for putting the dried apricots and dried cranberries in boiling water?
    Thanks and God bless you this Christmas!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 16, 2021

      Hi Justine, I have always made this with dried cranberries, but it could work. If you experiment, let me know how you liked the recipe.

      Reply

  • Diane
    November 20, 2021

    made 3 smaller loafs today instead of one big one and it was perfect! Beautiful bake. Everything about it I loved. Swapped out the 1 1/2 cup of sugar for Truvia and it tasted great. This loaf will be one of 3 different flavors I will be sending out to the family and friends to go with my jams, cookies, and applesauce. Instead of the powdered sugar I made a nice glaze of powder sugar, milk and orange extract. YUMMO!!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 20, 2021

      That’s just awesome! Thank you for sharing your wonderful review, Diane!

      Reply

  • Anya
    October 13, 2021

    So this is the first fail for me from any of your recipes. I’m an experienced baker and have now triple-checked the ingredient quantities, but still, my loaf came out of the oven dark brown on top after an hour of baking at 350, but quickly collapsed in the middle like a deflated souffle which is when I realized it was still raw in the middle. I put it back in the oven for additional 15 minute intervals (with the top covered in foil now) four — four! — more times before the middle was done. (At some point there, I put an oven thermometer in, but it registered 350.) Two hours of total bake time before I called it quits, let it cool in the pan, then despite the pan having been buttered with 2 Tbs of butter, the bottom layer still tore off the loaf coming out of the pan. The keks itself was tasty, but maybe too oily and still overly dense/moist on the bottom half. The only substitutions I made were Canola for the olive oil and a cup of raisins instead of the craisins and apricots, otherwise we did have Kefir, and all the rest of the ingredients and methods are as written. A huge shrug as to what happened here, but if you or anyone can offer some insight, I’d be grateful. This is the first of your recipes that didn’t turn out as expected, but it sounds like maybe a fluke given others in the comments didn’t have an issue.

    Reply

    • Natasha
      October 13, 2021

      Hi Anya, make sure not to skip that first step of activating the baking soda with the kefir – you should see it increase in volume which is a good indication that the baking soda is not expired. Also, make sure to bake on regular conventional oven settings (not convection). I hope that helps to troubleshoot

      Reply

  • Rodica
    August 12, 2020

    A great recipe, like all the recipes that I already tried from your blog. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      August 13, 2020

      So great to hear that! I’m glad you enjoyed the recipes that you’ve tried.

      Reply

  • Cristina Sanchez
    March 4, 2020

    This looks sooo good!! I will make tomorrow, but I am confused with the flour, what is unbleached flour? I never know the difference!
    Thank you Natasha for your answer about the flour!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      March 4, 2020

      Hi Cristina, the flour packaging will show bleached or unbleached. It is refined flour that has not had any whitening agents added to it. I hope that helps.

      Reply

  • Thea Bothma
    November 30, 2019

    Your recipes are fabulous, thank you! I cannot wait to make the Cranberry Apricot Loaf! I will not be able to get Kefir here, would I be able to use Buttermilk successfully please?

    Reply

    • Natasha
      November 30, 2019

      Hi Thea, yes buttermilk is the next best thing. I hope you love the recipe!

      Reply

  • Rose Bedard
    March 30, 2018

    You sure have some lovely rescipes Natasha I’m making my blueberry cake to-tomorrow,,@ bringing it to my familys house,,for Easter,,thanks for sharing,,,,Happy Easter..

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      March 30, 2018

      My pleasure Rose! Please let me know what everyone thinks of the recipe!

      Reply

  • Chew Yoke Ching
    October 16, 2016

    Lovely Apricot Cranberry cake recipe.
    I tested out tdy and use yogurt mixed with some milk (I don’t have any kefir) , only used less than 1 cup of sugar , add some golden raisins And it turned out moist and light and yummy!

    I just don’t seem to get the nice dark colour like your cake, mine looks pale! Any advice?

    Thank you for sharing your lovely recipes.

    Chew
    Malaysia

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      October 17, 2016

      Hi Chew, I’m not sure if it may have something to do with the recipe substitutions such as using less sugar. Did you use the same dried fruits or did you omit them and use golden raisins instead? I haven’t tested it without kefir because it works so well with it and I’m just not sure if that would cause a color difference either??

      Reply

  • Tonya
    September 12, 2016

    Natasha,
    I finally got around to making this bread and it is super delicious!!!!!! I reduced sugar to only 1 cup and it was plenty sweet. I first thought that the bread won’t be sweet enough, but I worried all for nothing. I used buttermilk 3.25% and from this batter, I made 1 normal size loaf and 2 loafs 5×3-in. We ate it hot (b/c it smelled so heavenly, that we could not continue to wait) and it was bed-time😉. So, little one ate it with cold milk and when I asked how was it? She had two thumbs up and said that it is delicious!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your recipes that work and taste delicious!!!!!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 12, 2016

      I’m all smiles reading your comment and imagining the sweet scene of your little one giving two thumbs up 🙂 Thank you for sharing that with me 🙂

      Reply

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