This bread is a perennial favorite at the holidays, although it's a welcome treat any time of year. Puréed bananas and buttermilk give this loaf a deliciously tender crumb and moist texture.
Studded with cranberries and infused with the essence of orange, this is one quick-bread recipe you might want to double. Surprise a friend with the extra loaf or freeze it for future use.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch loaf pan and set aside.
Place the bananas and both sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer, and beat with the whisk attachment until the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs, oil and citrus extracts, and beat at medium high speed until the batter is very creamy, about 2 minutes.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the mixing bowl, and mix at low speed until just barely combined. Add the cranberries and nuts, if using, and mix another 10 seconds. Don't overbeat or the bread will be tough.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake until the bread is fragrant and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out and finish cooling the bread on a wire rack. Slice with a serrated knife and serve warm.