In the 16th century, the story goes, it was illegal for bakers to sell hot cross buns on any day but Good Friday. Thankfully in 2018 that’s not the case, and bakeries across Melbourne have perfected their own versions of the doughy Easter dumpling to sell right up until Easter Monday. From recipes perfected over decades to inventive spins on old classics, here are eight bakeries doing it well.

Choco-Citrus Hot Cross Buns at Koko Black with Baker D. Chirico
Alongside D. Chirico’s traditional spiced-fruit hot cross buns, this year the Melbourne baker has cooked up a hazelnut, caramel and chocolate version. But that’s not all – D. Chirico has also joined forces with Koko Black to create a bun that’s only available at the latter’s stores. The one-off special combines Baker D. Chirico’s traditional recipe with chunks of Koko Black’s 54 per cent dark chocolate, pistachio and candied orange.

Choc Caramel Hazelnut: $4 for one, $22 for six
Fruit: $3.80 for one, $20 for six
Koko Black: $5 for one, $28 for six
Available in Koko Black stores until Sunday, see website for opening hours
Baker D. Chirico open Fri 7am–2pm, Sat 7am–3pm, Sun 7.30–midday (South Yarra closed)

20-Years-in-the-Making Hot Cross Buns at Rustica Sourdough
Baker Brendon Lang spent almost 20 years developing the perfect hot cross bun recipe. Lang’s buns go through a 48-hour process and have a choux-pastry cross – “it’s just a little bit different but tastes a lot better,” he says. The result is a super soft and spicy bun with plump juicy fruit.
Fruit: $3.80 for one, $17.50 for six
Dark Chocolate: $4.80 for one, or $19 for six
Open Fri to Sun 8am–4pm

Spicy Sourdough Hot Cross Buns at Dench Bakers
Dench has been perfecting its hot cross bun recipe over 13 years, and has a devoted following for the effort. Its buns are made with organic stoneground unbleached wheat flour, pureed orange, Australian fruit, fresh ginger, a special spice blend and the sourdough culture for which the baker is best known. This year, Dench is also serving up a chocolate option, made in collaboration with The Ministry of Chocolate: a spicy, soft bun, studded with 54 per dark Belgian chocolate.
Chocolate: $2.70 for one, $15.50 for six
Fruit: $3.10 for one, $18.00 for six
Open Sat 8am–3pm

Ginger Beer Hot Cross Buns at Q le Baker
French baker Quentin Berthonneau didn’t know what hot cross buns were until a few years ago when he moved from France and began making them for Chez Dre. Now, Berthonneau has his own bakery at Prahran Market where he’s continued the tradition. His version at Q le Baker is a sourdough bun packed with fruit with a splash of housemade ginger beer.
$3.50 for one, $18.00 for six
Open Sat 7am–4pm

A Choc-cano Mörk X Triple Chocolate X Buns
It’s Mörk’s third year making its rich and decadent triple chocolate hot cross buns. They’re loaded up with single origin dark Madagascan chocolate chips, candied orange peel, sour cherries, and spiced soaked currants. On the glossy outside, you’ll spot a dark chocolate cross; on the inside, there’s a dark chocolate ganache in the middle.
$6 for one
Open Fri to Sun 9am–5pm

The Traditional Hot Cross Bun at Phillippa’s
Phillippa’s keeps its hot cross buns traditional with a 24-year-old recipe from the husband and wife team. Like the bakery’s bread, the buns contain only a small amount of yeast. Phillippa Grogan’s ingredients are locally sourced and carefully prepared. The secret six-spice mix is ground daily and oranges from a farmers market are boiled down three times. The apple glaze is made from apple skin and cores left over from the baker’s cranberry apple muffins.
$4 for one, $18.00 for six
Open Sat 7am–3.30pm and Mon 7am–3pm

Social Enterprise Hot Cross Buns at Streat
Streat is a social enterprise that tackles youth homelessness by training and supporting disadvantaged young people. Its hot cross buns – prepared and baked daily at the charity’s Collingwood bakery on Cromwell Street – are made with local, organic and sustainable ingredients by head baker Didiet Radityawan.
$3.20 for one, $16 for six
Open Thu 7.30am–4pm, closed all weekend

Ned’s Hot X Bun at Ned’s Bake
Ned’s Hot X Buns are steeped in tradition. It’s a fruity version of an old-time classic. Full of exotic spices like cinnamon and star anise, with a fruity twist including dried raisins and candied orange peel, they are perfect with a big dollop of butter or all by themselves. It’s like a panettone for Christmas.
$3 for one
Open Fri, Sat and Mon 7am–11pm and Sun 7am–6pm

With additional reporting by Gracyn Willoughby-McEwan.