Nothing quite beats the smell of a freshly toasted hot cross bun. The spices and fruit mixed with the fluffy dough create that distinctive aroma that can only mean one thing: Easter is rolling around and every bakery in town is whipping up batches of the perfect creations for our eating pleasure. When warmed slightly and generously slathered in butter, hot cross buns become the ultimate morning delight, comfort snack, or just all-around good-for-the-soul kinda eating. Enjoyed with a cup of coffee, on their own, out of a paper bag as you’re rushing to work or with a scoop of gelato, there is no wrong way to eat the pillowy morsels.
To help you consume as many as possible before they disappear for another year, here is where to find Auckland’s best hot cross buns.
One of Auckland’s finest and most-loved bakeries, Daily Bread, whip up batches upon batches of perfectly spongy hot cross buns for your indulgence each Easter. Their sourdough buns are heavy on spice, sweetened with bursts of dried fruit, and finished with a glossy, sticky glaze. The long fermentation process of the sourdough ensures a springy and moist bun, which is then packed full of the perfectly balanced sweet and spice flavours. They are best eaten fresh with a generous slab of their whipped butter but be sure to head along early in the day, especially on weekends as they sell out quickly.
Bread and Butter
Grey Lynn, Ponsonby and Milford
Specialising in traditional European and naturally leavened sourdough bread, and using all organic ingredients, Bread & Butter bake up an array of delicious and health-conscious treats. Around Easter, they create some seriously tasty and all-organic hot cross buns that are baked with a lot of love and care. The sourdough buns are slowly fermented and made with buttermilk to give an added depth of flavour. The burnt butter and spiced syrup glaze make the buns all the more indulgent and with three locations around Auckland, there are plenty of opportunities to get your fix.
Britomart, Morningside and Fort St
The luxury dessert restaurant does all things decadent and extremely indulgent so you can bet that their version of a hot cross bun is exactly that. Using handcrafted chocolate that is made on site, Miann has created a chocolate hot cross bun to rule them all. The soft and spongy buns contrast with the crunchy dark chocolate chunks throughout, which when slightly toasted go finger-licking melty and extra delicious. To really take things up a notch, opt for a scoop of gelato over the usual butter to go with it and find yourself in some kind of hot cross heaven you didn’t know was possible. They really do have some of the best hot cross buns in Auckland.
Being sourdough experts, it’s no surprise that the hot cross buns at Fort Greene are made with a sourdough starter and utterly delicious. The artesian bread makers know exactly what they are doing when baking beautiful loaves of bread and have pulled through this Easter with hot cross buns that are equally as delightful. Not too sweet and with a good dose of citrus and spice, the hot cross buns are some of the best Auckland has on offer. The best part is the crunchy top which has been baked to perfection giving the buns a slight chewiness, with the fluffy bun underneath ready and waiting for a good slather of butter.
Mt Eden, Howick and Belmont
Shaped and handcrafted into beautifully rounded buns, Wild Wheat has sure nailed the aesthetic of their yearly hot cross buns. And the Easter treats are just as delightful to eat as they are to look at. Perfectly balanced with spice and fruit, the traditional flavours are combined into a fluffy and soft dough. Baked to perfection, the outer has a slight chewy crunch that adds a whole other texture—it’s very easy to see why they are award-winning after all.
The Real Bread Project
Dan Cruden, the mastermind behind Dan The Baker Down Under, has collaborated with Sparks Brewing this Easter season to bring you a hot cross bun with a twist. Made with Sparks Outlander Stout, the buns have a hearty flavour that is lightened with good doses of sultanas, raisins and candied fruit peel throughout. Available at Pastrami and Rye, make sure you head along and order one of their ‘hot cross bun bacon butties’. The perfectly toasted and fluffy bun is filled with lashings of juicy, crispy bacon–an out of this world combination of salty and sweet goodness.
La Voie Francaise
Perfectly round and shiny with a sticky glaze, the favourite neighbourhood French bakery creates beautiful and delicious hot cross buns ready for your indulgence leading up to Easter. Packed full of all the classic spices and fruit, the buns are balanced just right. The fluffy dough is held together with that sweet and sticky glaze, giving the bun the perfect amount of chewiness. La Voie Francaise also has some of the most reasonably priced buns around, you can grab six for just $10 and you will definitely be the favourite household member arriving home with them—they're definitely some of the best hot cross buns in Auckland.
Image Credit: Ima Cuisine by Jaiden Bhaga