If you’re not content with just butter on your buns, then take a look at these quick twists. We’ve got toppings to suit you from breakfast through to dinner, whatever your flavour preferences. Try making our classic 5-star hot cross bun recipe then slather on a spoonful of salted caramel, unicorn fluff or a melty creme egg. Want a simple step-by-step guide to the ultimate buns? Watch our video tutorial on how to make hot cross buns – then let the topping commence.
1. Salted caramel
Everyone loves salted caramel. To get the right balance between salt and sweet, use a plain caramel for cooking such as Carnation or a jar of spreadable caramel or dulce de leche and add your own salt. This topping suits fruited hot cross buns and trendy chocolate versions.
Simple salted caramel
PREP 5 mins COOK 2 mins
1 hot cross bun
butter for spreading
2 tbsp caramel
large pinch salt flakes or sea salt
1. Split the hot cross bun and toast it on each side. Butter as thickly as you like and then let the bun cool just a little so the caramel doesn’t melt too much – you want it to be gooey without running off the edge.
2. Divide the salted caramel between the two bun halves by spooning it into the centre and letting it spread outwards, helping it with a knife if you need to. Sprinkle on a little salt and serve while still warm.
2. Breakfast hot cross buns
Our bacon topped hot cross bun was a hit last year, which is when we discovered that some members of the team had taken the salty/sweet flavour to the next level. Adding a layer of marmalade enhances the citrus in the bun and makes an irresistible combo. Use a classic fruited bun or wholemeal version for this and a dark marmalade with a hint of bitterness rather than something overwhelmingly sweet.
Bacon with marmalade
PREP 5 mins COOK 10 mins
2 hot cross buns
butter for spreading
2 large or 4 small rashers bacon, either back or streaky (we used nitrate free bacon)
2 tbsp dark marmalade
1. Put the bacon rashers under a grill on a non-stick baking sheet and start to heat, this will help melt the fat on the bacon and drain it off. Once the bacon has started to sizzle around the edge turn the heat up and cook it on both side until very crisp.
2. Split the hot cross buns and toast them on each side, butter well. Put each bun toasted side up on a plate and spread with a little marmalade. Spread the remaining marmalade onto the rashers of bacon and flash them under the grill again. Add two rashers to each bottom half of the buns and then sandwich them back together.
3. Brunch buns
Hear us out. Once you’ve tried our savoury spin on this classic sweet treat, you’ll never look back. Try our simple cheesy hot cross buns or go the whole hog and construct this lunch time masterpiece. Mild, creamy goat’s cheese with fig and honey goes well with lightly spiced hot cross buns. Make this for an extra-special Easter brunch or a substantial seasonal snack.
Goat’s cheese, fig and rosemary
PREP 5 mins COOK 15 mins
1 fresh fig or 2-3 dried figs, halved
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp light soft brown sugar
1 hot cross bun
2-3 tbsp soft goats cheese
honey for drizzling (optional)
4-6 rosemary leaves, finely chopped
1. If you are using dried figs put the cinnamon stick and sugar in a small pan with 100ml water and bring to a simmer, add the figs and cook for 10 mins or until the figs have plumped up and the sauce is flavourful. If using a fresh fig cut it into slices.
2. Halve and toast the hot cross bun and spread both sides with goat’s cheese. Add the fresh fig or spoon over the dried figs. Drizzle the fresh fig with honey or the dried fig with some of the syrup and add some finely chopped fresh rosemary.
4. Hot cross buns for pudding
Slightly caramelised hot cross buns make a perfect base for a banana and caramel loaded dessert. Try a chocolate chip version to make an even more extravagant banoffee sweet or warm the caramel with a shot of rum to make an adult version.
Hot cross bun banana sundae
Serves 2 PREP 5 mins COOK 10 mins
4 tbsp golden caster sugar
pinch mixed spice
handful of walnuts
1 hot cross bun, halved (chocolate chip if you have one)
knob of butter
2 scoops vanilla ice cream
1 banana, diagonally sliced
Caramel sauce, warmed to serve
1. Sprinkle the sugar and spice onto the base of a small frying pan and melt them together to make a caramel, add the walnuts, stir briefly and tip the lot onto a board to cool and dry.
2. Heat the butter in a frying pan and fry the bun halves cut side down until they brown.
3. Put half a hot cross bun on two plates, add some slices of banana and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, drizzle over some caramel sauce and add some walnuts.
5. Unicorn buns
No, we’re not done with unicorn recipes just yet – especially when they taste this good. Ring unicorn changes to a hot cross bun with this easy recipe and add a touch of magic to your breakfast plate. Make these with mini buns and serve with coffee, or prosecco, for a unique brunch bake.
Unicorn fluff (marshmallow fluff + sprinkles)
PREP 5 mins
COOK 2 mins
6 mini hot cross buns
1 jar marshmallow fluff
1 tub ready-made vanilla icing, beaten until soft
2 tbsp multi coloured sprinkles
1. Toast the hot cross buns and leave them to cool a little so the fluff doesn’t melt too quickly. Mix the fluff and icing together and then either spoon the fluff into a piping bag pipe a spiral onto each bun half, or spoon some on making a peak in the centre of each, add some sprinkles and serve. The fluff will start to melt so eat them quickly!
Enjoyed these suggestions? Check out our other Easter guides…
Hot cross buns – recipes and tips
8 things you’ve never done with a hot cross bun
3 ways to flavour hot cross buns
What’s your favourite hot cross bun topping? Leave a comment below…