We are a nation of cake lovers, with a rich heritage of regional bakery specialities, from the Manchester Tart and the Yorkshire Tea Cake, through to the Gypsy Tart. But it seems there is one baked treat which has captured the nation’s heart more than any other - the Bakewell Tart.
The nation was once again invited to vote for its favourite bake in a survey* for Craft Bakers’ Week (September 28 to October 2) and the Bakewell Tart was the resounding winner with over a quarter of the votes (26 per cent). Last year’s winner, the Eccles Cake came second with ten per cent of the vote, followed by the English Muffin and the Chelsea Bun, which each received eight per cent.
Steeped in history and tradition, the Bakewell Tart was not only voted the number one in and around its home county of Derbyshire with 29 per cent, but it seems the tart is equally loved across the country too. In Northern Ireland 34 per cent named it as their favourite, 35 percent in the North West and 29 per cent in the South West.
The Bakewell Tart, derived from the traditional Bakewell Pudding, is steeped in the history of Derbyshire. It is widely claimed that the recipe was originally invented in the town of Bakewell in the 1860s as a result of a misunderstanding between Mrs Graves, a landlady, and her kitchen assistant, who made savoury pastry instead of sweet when making a jam tart; however, some say that it can actually be traced back to medieval times**. The famous author Allison Uttley, who lived near Bakewell, said in one of her books that that the dish was ‘for special occasions only’, but despite this the Bakewell Tart is now a staple of the local diet. It is clear that no matter what its origins are, it is loved both in its hometown, and by the country as a whole.
Hannah Marriage, chair of Craft Bakers’ Week 2015 added “It is fantastic to see such a strong sense of pride in the country’s historic bakes. Without the hard working bakeries on the high street these traditional recipes would not be passed down, and we wouldn’t be able to enjoy them as we do. Craft Bakers’ Week, which is taking place this week, is about encouraging support for the country’s bakers and ensuring that their many and varied skills are passed on for generations to come.”