Rhian Melvin shares her recipe for the softest and fluffiest buns.

| By Rachael Thompson | Journal

These Chocolate Hot Cross Buns Are the Indulgent Treat You Deserve This Easter

Rhian Melvin shares her recipe for the softest and fluffiest buns.

Welcome to Put on a Spread, a recipe series that takes you inside the kitchens – and dining rooms – of some of our favourite home cooks. For this instalment, Manchester-based cook Rhian Melvin shares her recipe for chocolate hot cross buns.


For the buns:

  • 250g bread flour (sub plain flour)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp instant yeast
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 150ml unsweetened plant milk, warmed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tbsp plant-based yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup OR 100g dark chocolate chips

To top:

  • 1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • Unsweetened plant milk for brushing
  • 50g icing sugar


  1. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, yeast, sugar, cinnamon, and mixed spice together in a bowl. Make a well in the centre then add the yoghurt, vanilla, butter, and milk.
  2. Carefully mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture begins to come together then mix with your hands.
  3. ⁠Tip out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and springy (it should be smooth but not overly sticky, add a little warm water if too dry and flour if too wet).
  4. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and let it rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
  5. ⁠Turn the risen dough out onto a work surface, sprinkle over the chocolate chips, and gently knead them in until evenly distributed.
  6. Divide the dough into six even pieces then shape them into balls, place onto a lined baking tray so they are just touching then cover and let them rise for another hour until doubled in size again.
  7. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, and water until smooth then transfer to a piping bag.
  8. When the buns have risen, brush them lightly with plant milk then carefully pipe crosses along the top of them using the mixture you prepared earlier.
  9. ⁠Bake at 180°C for 20-25 minutes until fluffy and golden.
  10. Mix the icing sugar, and boiling water together, then brush this over the hot cross buns to give them a shiny glaze then serve.

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