Let me clear something up right from the get-go: I’m talking about cinnamon buns, not the cinnamon scrolls (aka cinnamon escargot) made with the delicious, flaky pastry. I’m talking up the soft, bready, sweet and sometimes gooey, cinnamon buns. The ones topped with a generous smear of cream cheese icing. You know the ones, right?
I’ve made them many times at home and I’ve eaten a few too many overseas, in other parts of Australia and in Canberra. When I lived in Vancouver, my partner and I indulged in our first glorious taste of gooey, warm cinnamon buns at a little cafe we frequented down the road from where we lived.
From then, we indulged in the famous cinnamon rolls from Cinnabon during our travels in America. We even lined up with a crowd of Cinnabon lovers in Brisbane not long after the first Cinnabon store opened in Australia.
Most recently, I placed an $80 order (including a giant cinnamon bun and tubs of cream cheese icing) from Cinnabon in Brisbane when I visited family for Christmas. Oh yes, fellow foodies, my love of cinnamon buns is very, very real.
From a vegan café and bakery to market stalls and a patisserie, here are three places where you will find delicious cinnamon buns in Canberra.
Le Bon Melange
When you talk about cinnamon buns in Canberra, Le Bon Melange in Gungahlin is probably the most popular and well-known option. This gorgeous little patisserie and café sits on the corner of Gungahlin Place and Bruning Street, a few streets back from the Marketplace Gungahlin.
They have a beautiful selection of pastries, tarts, cakes and more with a breakfast and lunch menu available if you have time to sit down for a coffee and a bite to eat.
They make 350 to 400 cinnamon buns a week, and more in winter. I asked co-owner Peter what makes their cinnamon buns different from others’.
“We use a water roux and fresh yeast. We also let our dough ferment overnight and this results in a nice, soft bun,” he says, adding that good quality cinnamon is important.
Le Bon Melange is located at G09/48 Gungahlin Pl & Bruning St, Gungahlin and is open daily from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.
Sweet Bones Bakery
Sweet Bones is a popular vegan café and bakery located in Braddon. They also make vegan cakes and cupcakes for all occasions.
Their menu features a range of American-inspired Tex Mex vegan dishes like the Nacho Mountain and the burrito grande.
Owners Emily and Russell Brindley have a passion for no-frills whole foods while Emily, who hails from New Jersey, has imported her love of Tex Mex flavours as well as an amazing cinnamon bun recipe. Find their cinnamon buns in the cake cabinet on the counter where they might also be labelled ‘sin-a-buns’, depending on which staff member is working that day.
I spoke to Olivia, one of the bakers at Sweet Bones, to find out why their vegan cinnamon buns taste so good.
“Letting the dough proof is the key to getting them fluffy and delicious. You have to use lots of cinnamon filling too,” she says.
Sweet Bones makes more than 300 sin-a-buns each week, but you need to get in early because hungry customers have usually devoured them by 11:00 am.
Sweet Bones is located at shop 8/18 Lonsdale St (enter via Elouera St), Braddon and they’re open daily from 8:00 am until 3:00 pm for breakfast and lunch.
Uncle Juan’s Bakehouse
Established in 2012, Uncle Juan’s Bakehouse is all about traditional cooking and old school baking. They have a range of gourmet pies, gourmet sausages rolls, pastries and, of course, the beloved cinnamon bun.
Like many proud cinnamon bun makers, owner Wayne was inspired by Cinnabon when he tasted them for the first time during a surf trip in Hawaii.
You’ll have to make a trip to the markets to try Wayne’s creations where you’ll find trays of his buttery brioche cinnamon buns with a vanilla cream cheese icing. A trip to the markets is always a good way to start the day, especially when cinnamon buns are involved.
You’ll find Uncle Juan’s Bakehouse at the Capital Region Farmers Market from 7:00 am until 11:30 am on Saturdays and the Southside Farmers Market from 8:00 am until 11:30 am on Sundays.
Take 3: Bonus
Want to make cinnamon buns at home?
I’ve whipped up a batch or five using a range of recipes, including this one from one of Australia’s most popular food bloggers, Lorraine Elliott (aka Not Quite Nigella). They’re one of my favourite sweet treats to bake. Bake a dozen and the delicious smell of cinnamon will waft through your house and your neighbours will be knocking at your door wanting to try them.
A warning, though, never look up the calories of these decadent treats. Just enjoy every mouthful. It’s all about balance!
Amelia Bidgood is a Canberra food lover and writer. You can find her at EatCanberra, where she explores the Capital region’s food and wine world with gusto.