The origins of the tart are not clear, however the generally accepted story is that it was first made by accident in 1820 when the landlady of the White Horse Inn, (now called the Rutland Arms) left instructions for her cook to make a jam tart. The cook, instead of stirring the eggs and almond paste mixture into the pastry, spread it on top of the jam. When cooked the jam rose through the paste. The result was successful enough for it to become a popular dish at the inn, and commercial variations, usually with icing sugar on top, have spread the name.
Two shops in Bakewell offer what they both claim is the original recipe pasty - The Bakewell Tart Shop & Coffee House sells a "Bakewell Tart", while The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop sells a "Bakewell Pudding".
Recipes abound, for example those given by Eliza Acton (1845) and Mrs Beeton (1861), and modern commercial examples are to be found in most cake shops and on every supermarket shelf. The name only became common in the 20th century; the dish was previously known as Bakewell Pudding.