The best thing about Easter is smashing hot cross buns at any possible moment. There's so many out there, but here's some we're liking this year.

Black Star Pastry’s hot cross buns
These hot cross buns are vegan, but you wouldn’t know it. The plump buns are stuffed with allspice and marinated orange peel, and glazed with a sticky frankincense syrup that sinks into the buns to create a fragrant mouthful. Black Star is known for its imaginative baked goods (strawberry-watermelon cake and black-sesame chiffon cake, for example), but proves it also does traditional well with this comforting take on a classic. They’re available at Black Star’s Newtown, Rosebery, The Galeries in the CBD and Moore Park stores, for $4.50 each or $25 for six.

blackstarpastry.com.au

Smoking Gun’s choc cross bagels
Cross a chocolate bagel with a hot cross bun and you’ll get Smoking Gun’s choc cross bagel. The Montreal-style bagelry has used Callebaut chocolate for a spin on the typical HCB that’s surprisingly not tooth-achingly sweet. It’s been made with orange puree and Callebaut cocoa powder infused with a spice mix. The dried fruit you’d typically find in a hot cross bun has been replaced with currants and a cocoa-heavy chocolate that’s low on sugar. $4.50

smokinggunbagels.co

David Jones’s classic and chocolate hot cross buns
We can hear you say, “But these are from a department store.” And you’d be right. They’re also plush, smattered with plenty of fruit and chocolate and go perfectly crisp on the outside when you toast them. They’re available at the Market Street store in the city and Bondi DJs, and a bag of six will set you back $14.95. The classic is stuffed with spices and Australian fruit, and the choccie ones are handmade and packed with Belgian chocolate made from sustainably sourced cocoa.

davidjones.com

Bake Bar’s traditional and gluten-free hot cross buns
The buns at Bake Bar (available at Double Bay and Randwick) are baked daily by director and head baker Gili Gold. Filled with organic currants, sultanas and raisins, with a dash of cinnamon, they’re plump and pillowy. The gluten-free version is golden, dense and muffin-shaped, but similarly packed with fruits and spice. The traditional hot cross buns are $3 each, $18 for six and $34 for 12.

bakebar.com.au

Flour and Stone’s hot cross buns
The HCBs at the tiny Woolloomooloo Flour and Stone have an annoying tendency to sell out quickly, so it’s best to get in early or order ahead. Like everything Nadine Ingram does, there’s a homespun quality to the buns (in the best way possible). They’re crammed with dried fruit and candied orange peel, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and zest and topped off with a cross and sticky fruit glaze which turns crispy when toasted. They’re $4.50 each.

flourandstone.com.au