Book celebrates a slice of baking history

Gay Making Bakewell puddings at The old Bakewell pudding shop.
Gay Making Bakewell puddings at The old Bakewell pudding shop.

The origins of the Peak’s most famous pud have been explored in a new book which explores the British Isles by cake.

Writer Caroline Taggart features the Bakewell Pudding in her new book A Slice of Britain.

The book, which went on sale this month, states that food historian Ivan Day had found a recipe for the pud dating back to 1835.

Caroline also uncovered a story about Will Hudson, landlord of the Castle giving a copy of the original recipe to his baker friend George Bloomer. The business of Bloomers is still thriving in town and selling an Original Bakewell Pudding.

Business is still booming for a Derbyshire town’s famous export which has remained a dominant force in a world of food fads.

Julie Hurst, manager of The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop in the town centre, said: “I would say Bakewell Pudding has grown in popularity over the past three years.

“The turnover has gone up and up and we have employed extra people in the bakery.

“At this time of year, we make 2,000 to 3,000 puddings a week.

“In August, when Bakewell Show is on, we make up to 11,000.”

“Whatever your diet, when you come into the shop, it is that time to let go and have a handmade, homemade, treat.

“We tried muesli bars but they didn’t work!

“People are coming to us for a naughty but nice treat, for lashings of chocolate and cream.”

Owner Nick Beagrie decided to expand the wholesale side of the business three years ago and moved the bakery from the back of the shop to the Riverside Industrial Park in Bakewell.

The shop and restaurant is a lure for celebrities. Joan Rivers called in for lunch and star customers have included The Hairy Bikers, Ade Edmondson and David Dickinson.

How the pudding was first created more than 250 years ago is steeped in controversy and is as much a mystery as its secret ingredient.

The story which The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop is sticking to is that the pudding was born by accident in the Rutland Arms around 1860 when visiting noblemen had ordered strawberry tart.

Instead of spreading the mixture onto the pastry, the cook spread it on top of the jam.

The pudding was so successful that a Mrs Wilson bought the recipe for £5 and started a business of her own in her cottage.

That cottage later became The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop.

A Slice of Britain has been published by the Automobile Association and is available by visiting