Sift flour and next 3 ingredients into a large bowl; stir to combine. Add milk and next 3 ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Stir in nuts, and, if desired, cranberries.
Pour batter evenly into 2 greased (13-ounce) coffee cans or into 1 greased and floured 9- x 5-inch loafpan.
Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 10 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan, and cool completely on wire rack.
Note: For testing purposes only, we used Ocean Spray Craisins for dried cranberries. To remove coffee odor from coffee cans, rinse cans well with soap and water, removing all coffee grounds. Sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons baking soda onto bottom of each can; add 1 teaspoon water, and mix, forming a paste. Scrub paste onto entire interior of coffee can; let stand 15 minutes. Rinse well, and dry.