Bedfordshire Clanger

The Bedfordshire Clanger and Toothpaste Cake

So I have heard a lot about the Bedfordshire Clanger, mainly from TV shows including the Great British Bake Off but also from people locally and I knew exactly where to go to find out more.

The history

Gunns Bakery is a traditional family bakery based in Bedfordshire since 1928. It’s one of the last producers of the Bedfordshire Clanger and has done so for the last 50 years, maintaining the tradition and history of this tasty treat. It was originally eaten by farm labourers and has a meat filling with a sweet end. Great in the good old days as it’s portable, cheap to make, filling and very high in calories so perfect for the hard working farm staff.

But what about today? Why do people eat them and why the resurgence?  Well you could say the Clanger was one of the original fast foods, it was made from the remains of your evening meal and would have been boiled, like a suet pudding. Gunns varied the original method by baking, rather than boiling the clangers – although the pastry is still made to the original suet-based recipe apparently. This made it in my opinion Bedfordshire’s  answer to the Cornish pasty but with the unique twist of flavours – savoury and sweet.  The Clangers are perfect to eat with a pint, or as a wholesome lunch on the go, perfect for the time poor which most of us are these days. Plus it’s two fillings for the price of one.

Gunns Bakery

The Taste Test

I always see a steady stream of people coming out of Gunns Bakery on the high street in Bedford, so I thought why not? Let’s give it a go.

So I had a wide choice to choose from as I walked up to the Bakery... the bright and vibrant notice board outside the shop proudly advertised:

"Why not try our famous BEDFORDSHIRE CLANGERS.. as seen on Jamie and Jimmy's Friday Night Feast!

Traditional: Gammon, Potato, Onion with Apple

OR  Try our new varieties..

Pork and Cider with Roasted Apple

Beef and Ale with Rhubarb and Custard

Cream Vegetable with Apple and Sultanas (V)

Bombay Vegetable Curry with Mango (V)

Well for my first taste I went for the Port and Cider with Roasted Apple Clanger on the recommendation of the lovely shop assistant. I didn’t know that ‘two holes means meat’, ‘three knife slits means pudding’ so I ended up eating the roasted apple section first! Oh well it was a nice surprise and the main meat filling was lovely. A nice balance of flavours and a huge portion (about a foot long in size) and t be honest I could have saved half for later but I didn’t want to and all for a good value £3 (at time of writing)

Bedfordshire Clanger

More tasty treats including another Bedfordshire favourite Chocolate Toothpaste Cake

Whilst the Bedfordshire Clanger is clearly a great selling point to Gunn’s Bakery, they also produce a wide variety of freshly baked breads, a huge variety of sandwiches/filled rolls for lunch, sausage rolls, cakes, decorated biscuits and doughnuts. They also have a full range of fresh cream cakes and you can order celebration cakes and buffets for parties. So as you can imagine there was a lot to take in when I looked around the bakery! However one cake took my fancy as I hadn’t seen it before. I asked the shop assistant what it was and she proudly said ‘oh that’s Chocolate Toothpaste cake.’  The lady next to me said ‘we had it all the time at school; it’s a Bedfordshire thing I think’

I bought one to try and was very curious to taste it.  This desert combines a pastry bottom, chocolate mousse filling and a squirt of cream on the top. It was a very generous portion and to my amazement it didn’t taste of mint at all! Yes I didn’t know that it’s the texture of the mouse (apparently) which gave it its name rather than the taste. It is quite a rich pudding but definitely worth a try if you haven’t sampled one before.

So if you want to give any of these Bedfordshire treats a try you can find Gunn’s Bakery at the below locations.

Sandy: 8 Market Square,Sandy Bedfordshire. SG19 1HU

Bedford: 51 High Street, Bedford,MK40 1RZ

Biggleswade: 12 Hitchin St, Biggleswade, SG18 8AX

I wrote this blog page in my spare time and was not paid or given anything for free to write this post. All comments are my own.  To find out more about me click here.

A delightful sweetshop tucked away in the Arcade, Bedford

I went to visit a lovely sweet shop in Bedford Town Centre and met with one of the owners, Debbie. She was so friendly and really made me feel welcome. Explaining the history of the shop itself and why Arcadia sweetshop is so special in this area.

Arcadia Sweetshop is a family run business and is located in the Arcade. What's nice about this shop is the heritage, the actual shop itself is over 110 years old has been ran as a sweetshop since the Arcade was opened in 1905. This means that they have lots of regulars who have been coming a very long time, and now their children and grandchildren come. It's also the reason why its my first blog post of my new website, whenever I visit the Arcade I always walk by and look fondly on at the amazing selection of sweets inside. Most of which I remember buying as a child, I also smiled when I saw the prices available in quarters (how I used to buy sweets as a child) and now the usual '100g.' My favourite sweets are sherbet pips and sherbet lemons, and of course they have both.

They have won lots of awards since talking on the shop including the Bedford Business Awards in 2016 and have an online shop too, as Debbie was keen to point out to some of her regulars whilst I was in the store. Just select delivery to your home or simply click and collect. I thought this was a great idea and perfect for mums who want to organise a party and need sweets for party bags.


The range in the store was very wide as you would expect from such a traditional store. But it was easy to navigate around and I quickly spotted what I perceived to be the key selling points of the shop, which for me were the beautiful handmade chocolates, the traditional and broad range of classic childhood sweets in traditional jars, the wide range of continental chocolate bars and the penny sweets of course. (my eldest boy's favourite!)

So next time you have a sweet tooth have a wander down to 11 The Arcade, Bedford, MK40 1NS or visit their website