By the time you read this article, these hot-cross buns would have been on the shelves for four months. As a purist, I can only validate the consumption of those deliciously spiced buns in April. Please don’t come at me all you year-round hot-cross bun eating monsters.

For the past 48 hours, I gorged consumed eight individual hot cross buns for the sake of determining where in Canberra can you get the best hot-cross buns for 2019. As a recently self-diagnosed gluten sensitive individual, I made sacrifices. But isn’t that what Easter is all about? A four-day long glutenous weekend consisting of Caramello eggs, Lindt chocolate bunnies, Cadbury blocks and most importantly hot cross buns. Yes, I bravely open the door because my New Year’s Resolutions have left the building.

So which hot cross bun (HCB) reigns supreme? And why should you listen to my opinion anyway? Other than the fact that back in my retail hay days, I could infamously consume a six-pack of Bakers Delight Apple and Cinnamon HCB and convince myself it was a rational lunch option. Like the addict I was, I couldn’t get through my shift without getting a hit of that heavily spiced dough speckled with apple pieces and cinnamon flavour bombs – and ultimately a sugar coma.

Really, the only thing that differentiates me from you is the quantity of HCB I’ve consumed in my time vs. your time. But this time, it’s all about the quality. So what better way to get to the bottom of this year’s ranking of HCB than using my totally verifiable scientific method.

The control bun of choice is the traditionalist. No brioche buns, no caramel swirl and certainly, no choc chips. I like my buns like my men – traditional and classic – no need for gimmicks. The ideal bun will have an aroma of the holy trinity of spices – cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. It will be spotted with juicy raisin, sultanas, cranberries or a mixture of all three. The texture should be soft and pillowy, with just the right amount of chew and wipe your fingers clean stickiness.

6. Aldi Bakers Life Fruit Hot Cross Buns: $2.99 per 6 pack 

As Manu on MKR would say “Where is the sauce sultaness?” And then I found them all – in one big clump. Fruit dispersion can make or break a bun. This bun was bland and dense. No aroma, no glaze, no fun. These are the type of buns that can only be saved with copious slathering’s of butter after having been warmed in the oven, in hopes of giving life to its nothingness of an interior. Not happy Jan. 

5. Woolworths Traditional Fruit Hot Cross Buns: $3.50 per 6 pack 

They don’t call themselves “the fresh food people” for nothing. My HCB pack was straight-out-from-the-oven fresh. The bun was almost too soft and pillowy. Much like a dinner roll, there wasn’t the spiced aroma I crave and the splotches of sparse sultana weren’t enough to save it – the glaze was at least very shiny. Never was there so much expectation on a baked good. All the beauty but no brain. Hit the books kids, you don’t want to grow up to be like this fruitless bun- a disappointment.

4. Coles Traditional Hot Cross Bun: $3.50 per 6 pack 

Okay, I see you – Choice recommended award for 2019.  Unfortunately, I think I got a bad batch. The buns had developed that slightly stale crust, deceivingly not as fluffy as they could have been. Whilst there was some big boy sultaness, the distribution was not even and ultimately brought down the fruit-to-dough ratio score. I could nonetheless detect both a cinnamon scent and flavour, which means with just a minute in the toaster slathered with butter, these buns could easily be salvageable.

3. Baker’s Delight Traditional Fruit Hot Cross Bun: $7.00 per 6 pack 

The OG Hot Cross Bun for me. My fortnightly berry scroll after math’s tutoring in primary school means that Bakers Delight holds a special place in my heart. I can’t say I wasn’t biased, but Bakers Delight literally got me through algebra. The bun didn’t squish and collapse, meaning there was good structural integrity and had a good hefty weight to it. The scent was heavenly and the sultanas many. A good old ye faithful bun. 

2. Three Mills bakery Hot Cross Buns: $3.50 per bun 

This is the HCB version of your friend that just came back from Contiki in the isles of Greece. Tanned, shiny and full of citrus fruits.  Speckled with tiny pieces of currents, orange peel and raisins, this HCB brought a prominent citrus note through the bun. A warm, or shall I say zesty welcome after the commonly spiced Autumn notes of other buns. The outer shell was especially crisp, with a soft and pillowy centre – although it might have been a little too crunchy for me. This bun should have reapplied more sunscreen whilst basking on the sands of Greece. I’m not jealous at all.

1.Sonoma Fruit ‘Not Cross’ Buns: $3.50 per bun 

Oh man. These buns were damn good. I literally witnessed the baker load the tray straight out of the oven into the display cabinet right in front of my face. The orange scented syrup got me hypnotized. I would steal these off a well-dressed baby in Braddon any day. Full of cranberries, sour cherries and I swear I could detect pieces of dried apricot. My inner fruit addict was living. Baked to pillowy perfection, the texture was not too dense and the bun, on a whole, was wholly satisfying. I could easily consume six in one sitting. Sponsor me Sonoma! 

So, you know the gist. Whilst these buttery spiced baked goods have been on our shelves for four months and bit, we will be bidding them au revivor for the year in no time at all, so hop to it.

See you all immediately after Christmas, where I will be starting my HCB review for 2020. Who knows at the rate supermarkets are going, you might see a Part 2. Jokes, my gluten sensitive body can’t handle it.