What’s not to love about a doughy, spicy, fruity, buttery ball of joy, warmed to perfection in the toaster and slathered liberally with salted butter? Melbourne has a wealth of brilliant bakers, all of whom have been elbow-deep in flour, sugar and spice, perfecting their recipes for Easter. We’ve rounded up our favourite floury heroes below.
Melbourne's best hot cross buns
Dense, chewy, flavoured headily with pureéd whole oranges and Australian vine fruits and spiced with a secret blend that includes – drum roll, please – coriander: Dench's hot cross buns are rightly famous. These bad boys are also available at Dench’s sister café Bread & Jam for Frances in Hawthorn.
These guys don't loaf around (not sorry) when it comes to whipping up perfect sourdough hot cross buns – the Australian fruit is organic, the lemon and orange peel is candied in house and a dark malt syrup adds lustre to the glaze. It’s a strong candidate for the number one spot, and only a few steps from Dench Bakers, putting Fitzroy North high on the bun-lover’s radar.
Orange and ginger purée flavour these buttery sourdough buns, which are studded with juicy currants. Rather than cooking up a new recipe each year, chef Dan's traditional Italian formula plays on repeat. They're even dabbling in a chocolate hazelnut one this year. Fair warning, though, these buns are so tasty they practically fly out the door, so best call ahead to secure yours.
Any Melburnian chocaholic worth their smoked salt already knows about Mörk’s artisan hot chocolate powders. But their hot cross buns are next-level delicious. Packed with a warming ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon spice mix, the buns are packed with bits of Madagascan chocolate chunks that melts after a stint in the toaster or a warm oven.
Handcrafted with single origin Katana wheat from the Southern Flinders Rangers and packed with Herbie’s spices, ginger, raisins, sour cherries and orange peel from France, Brasserie’s fluffy bread has enough sugar content without being too fruity to caramelise a little when toasted. Their outlet in South Melbourne has shut, but you can get them from farmers markets in Mornington, Frankston and Mulgrave, Emerald Hill Deli, Thomas Dux in Armadale and Black Rock, and The Village Store in Yarraville.
No prizes for guessing that every plump morsel of fruit in Vue De Monde’s buns is the business; one bite and you'll see why the spelt and cranberry treats are such a crowd-pleaser. They’re packing fruit, yet still somehow manage to be ethereally fluffy. Don't skip the chocolate version, they don't go light on the chocolate chips.
Bitter pith haters rejoice! These spiced buns have no peel and everything’s organic right down to the eggs and butter that make these rich rolls part cake and all awesome. Plus, they’ve broken the rule book and introduced a hot cross doughnut into the mix – fried hot cross buns rolled in sugar and filled with vanilla custard. Good god, yes.
We're going nuts for the glaze on these buns, which crisps up like a sugar shell when you throw a toaster into the equation. Shiny cranberries stud the fluffy dough; they get their bold flavour from being soaked in a spice mix overnight. Purists, look away: Chez Dre also offers a – wait for it – chocolate hot cross bun, made with white and dark chocolate. It's like dessert in a bun.
This French boulangerie aren't too French to get in on the hot cross buns action for Easter. They're not too fussed about tradition, so embrace the sugary macadamia and chocolate, and the chocolate and hazelnut numbers, although the classic cinnamon and raisin takes well to a toaster and a slathering of butter. We recommend getting one of each.
Look, if you're going to go untraditional, you might as well as go all the way. Long Shot's chocolate hot cross buns are made with a dense brioche-based dough and are freckled with 64 per cent single origin chocolate chunks that melt when toasted (keep an eye on that toaster). They're sweet and rich enough as is that it feels almost sinful to butter the bad guy. But it's Easter, so just go with it.