Given that the endless debate about who makes the best hot cross buns rolls around every Easter, this year we thought we’d ignore it. Instead we’ve found places doing hot cross buns a bit differently. The classic HCB doesn’t need improving, but innovation can make them great (and you can eat more this way without getting bored). Be quick though, these are available for a limited time.

Hot X Bagel – The Bagel Shop
Alex Curtis was raised on the east coast of America and learned the art of bagel making before he started The Bagel Shop in Sydney. This year the delivery service and sometimes pop-up adds the Hot X Bagel to its repertoire. The boiled and baked bagels are full of all the flavours you’d expect (sultanas, ginger, cranberry, cinnamon) but packed into a bagel instead of the traditional yeasted bun. Get them delivered to your door, or find them at Garden Park Kitchen in Martin Place.

Hot cross bun bread-and-butter pudding – Pepe Saya butter pop-up
Made by Merna Taouk from Dessert Makers, this is bread-and-butter pudding in overdrive. Brasserie Bread hot cross buns are soaked in Country Valley cream with a sprinkle of sugar, Pepe Saya butter and vanilla, then layered in a dish and baked. “It’s something I’ve always done at Easter with leftover hot cross buns,” says Taouk. “So when Pepe told me he’d be selling Brasserie Bread’s amazing buns I thought, perfect … bread-and-butter pudding.” All the spices from the buns mix with the butter and cream. Get it at the Pepe Saya butter pop-up at Bitton Gourmet in Alexandria until Good Friday.

Hot cross bun gelato – Gelato Messina
It’s back for another year and released on Good Friday. This flavour is only available for one week at Gelato Messina (all stores). It’s hot-cross-bun-flavoured gelato smashed up with buttered hot cross buns the team bakes itself.

Hot cross macaron – Mak Mak Macarons
Another returning treat is the Mak Mak hot-cross-bun-flavoured macaron. The rum-and-raisin butter cream in a perfectly crispy shell works so well it’s almost hard to believe you’re eating a macaron and not a bun. They’re all handmade and gluten free.

Hot cross bun slider – Bodega
On the menu for its Easter Feaster dinner (on Thursday March 24), as well as on its regular menu this week, this is one of the more adventurous uses of the humble hot cross bun. Corned beef, fermented carrot and oyster mayonnaise is served in a toasted hot cross bun. It’ll certainly make you think twice about just buttering your buns to go with a cup of tea.

Tella Cross Buns – Tella Balls
Following the Tella Balls craze its creators opened a spin-off: Tella Balls Dessert Bar. As you may have guessed it will serve hot cross buns filled with Nutella. It’s a typical hot cross bun complete with raisins and spices, but with Nutella injected into the centre. They joined the menu this week and will be around until the end of March.

Choc-chip and cherry hot cross buns – Zumbo
You can get a traditional hot cross bun from Adriano Zumbo, but why stop there when you can try the dense choc-chip and cherry variety? It’s a rich chocolate bun, folded through with choc chips and cherries.