Traditional Bakewell Tart

With a crisp and buttery shortbread crust, cherry jam, and an almond frangipane sponge layer, this Traditional Bakewell Tart is a perfect breakfast or dessert.

overhead view of a bakewell tart on a circular marble cake stand.

A long, long time ago (we’re talking over 15 years), I participated in monthly challenges with a group known as the Daring Bakers. 

Each month, someone would select a recipe that was either a bit off the beaten path or a little more challenging.  Then everyone would make a version and discuss the results.

Participation in the group encouraged me to try many things I don’t particularly like enough to make by hand (French macarons, cannoli shells) or things that require so much time, it’s just plain easier to buy them in the store (puff pastry, phyllo dough).

One month a member chose a traditional British Bakewell Tart recipe for the challenge. I had never heard of a Bakewell tart before (this was well before the Great British Bake Off!), but this is, without a doubt, the favorite thing I made during my years as a “Daring Baker.”

I’m a big fan of fruit-flavored sweets and love almonds in any form.  I sliced away at that Bakewell Tart for breakfast for a week and was truly sad when it was gone.

I first shared this recipe on this blog in 2014 and it had a big surge in popularity when GBBO covered Bakewell Tarts in an episode. Nearly 10 years later, it was time to revive this recipe – because it’s so good!

It’s still one of my favorite things I’ve ever made. So now I’m giving my old post a little update so you, too, can enjoy how delicious this is!

side view of a slice of bakwell tart filled with cherry jam.

What is a Bakewell Tart?

A Bakewell tart is a British almond tart made with layers of a shortbread crust, fruity jam, spongy frangipane, and flaked almonds. It originated in the town of Bakewell in Derbyshire, England.

A Bakewell tart isn’t super-sweet, making it perfect for afternoon tea (or even breakfast!), but just sweet enough that it’s still delicious for dessert. It’s not challenging to make, although it’s a little time-consuming.

But trust me: this is well worth the effort.

Bakewell Tarts aren’t particularly common here in the U.S. (I never heard of one before the Daring Bakers’ challenge, and I’ve never seen one in person since!), so I think it’s a fun unexpected treat for a gathering or party.  When everyone brings cupcakes to a gathering, you stand out just a little.

overhead view of all the ingredients used to make a bakewell tart.

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Flour: The recipe uses all-purpose flour, but you can use a 1:1 gluten-free baking mix as a substitute for both the shortbread crust and the frangipane to keep this recipe gluten-free.
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Butter: The butter for the crust should be frozen, while the butter for the frangipane needs to be at room temperature (cool to the touch – around 65°F)
  • Eggs and Egg Yolks
  • Almond Extract
  • Confectioners’ Sugar
  • Almond Meal: Almond meal is made from ground whole almonds, which is not the same as almond flour! If you can’t find almond meal, grind whole almonds in a food processor.
  • Jam: Storebought or homemade works, as long as it has a thick texture.
  • Sliced Almonds

Layers of a Bakewell Tart

We have four layers at play in a Bakewell tart:

  1. Shortbread Crust
  2. Fruity Jam
  3. Frangipane Layer
  4. Almonds

With these four layers, we get a variety of textures: the crispy crust, the smooth jam, the spongy squishy frangipane, and the slightly crunchy almonds.  Which all pair together deliciously.

The shortbread crust is basically like any other you’ve made.  Mix the dry ingredients, cut in butter, roll out the dough, and press into the pan.  Refrigerate to set the tart. After refrigerating, blind-bake the crust (use dried beans or pie weight to prevent the dough from puffing up too much), then cool completely.

The jam layer is self-explanatory, right?  Right. You’ll want to use a thick jam, either store-bought or homemade, and spread it across the bottom of the cooled crust.

The frangipane layer is where things start to get interesting! Frangipane is a pastry cream, made out of butter, eggs, sugar, and ground almonds.  It’s soft and spreadable and poofs up while it bakes.  (And if like me, you love almonds, it’s really really really good.) Layer the frangipane over the jam and bake until golden and puffed.

We’ll top the cake with the almond layer.  You can use chopped, sliced, slivered – whatever you have.  I like sliced almonds both because they look pretty and the sliced almonds add a super-subtle crunch. Just before the tart finishes baking, scatter the almonds on top and return to the oven until the top is golden brown. After removing the tart from the oven, dust with additional confectioners’ sugar.

Ingredient Temperature Matters!

If I have one tip to stress for making this Bakewell tart, it’s that ingredient temperature matters!

We need cold (frozen!) butter for the shortbread crust. The frozen butter will release little pockets of steam while the shortbread bakes, creating a fluffy and crispy crust.

But we need room temperature butter and eggs for the frangipane. This is especially important to make sure the frangipane batter doesn’t break!

To create the frangipane, we combine the butter (fat) with eggs (which contain water). But as you probably remember from chemistry class, water and fat don’t like to combine! So what we need to do is create an emulsion.

To create a stable emulsion, slowly add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture, one at a time, and beat well until each egg is fully combined. But we run into a big problem if the eggs aren’t at room temperature!

Kitchen Chemistry

If the eggs in a batter are too cold, they can cause the butter to seize up, breaking the emulsion of fat and the water from the eggs. When this happens, the batter looks lumpy and curdled.

If your batter breaks, it will look smooth again once you add in the almond meal – but a broken batter has a different final texture than a properly made and emulsified batter. To prevent this, use room temperature butter and add each egg one at a time, mixing well before adding the next!

powdered sugar sifter dusting the top of a bakewell tart with a layer of sugar.

Best Jam to Use

I don’t think there’s a traditional flavor of jam that is generally used, but I used a sour cherry jam.  Cherry pairs so well with the almond and I highly recommend it, although of course any other flavor of jam can be used (raspberry would be delicious, too). 

I used store-bought jam but this is the perfect way to showcase your own homemade fruit preserves, too.

Use a thick jam (or fruit preserves) and not softer jelly or fruit compote.

Cherry Bakewell Tart

There’s a similar – but separate – dessert called a Cherry Bakewell Tart.

While it’s usually made with small, individual-sized tarts, there’s no reason you can’t try with a full-sized tart cut into wedges!

To make a Cherry Bakewell Tart, cover the tart with a confectioners’ sugar glaze and add some candied/glace cherries on top. (If you can’t find glace cherries, maraschino cherries would work in a pinch for this.)

To make the glaze, follow the powdered sugar glaze recipe from this Neapolitan Bundt Cake and spread on top of the tart instead of dusting with powdered sugar. Add more confectioners’ sugar if necessary to make a thick icing to ensure it stays on the top of the tart and doesn’t run down the sides.

side view of a single slice of bakewell tart showing a thick layer cherry jam.
  • Cheese Grater: This style grater is ideal for grating frozen butter into the flour mixture.
  • Rolling Pin: The perfect rolling pin to ensure dough is rolled to a consistent, even thickness.
  • Tart Tin: A 9″ removable bottom tart pan with fluted edges works best for this recipe.
  • Parchment Paper: Line the tart pan with parchment paper before adding pie weights.
  • Pie Weights: While dried beans work, these are my favorite pie weights for blind baking a crust.
  • Stand Mixer: My trusty stand mixer has been going strong for 15+ years!
  • Almond Extract: This almond extract has the best flavor and is easy to find online.
slice of bakewell tart on a dessert plate with one forkful removed.

Tips and Tricks for the Best Bakewell Tart Recipe

  1. Don’t overwork the shortbread crust! Handling the dough too much will result in a tough, dense texture.
  2. After making the crust, be sure to blind bake it first. This ensures the crust will be fully cooked and not soggy!
  3. The frangipane recipe uses almond meal, which is ground whole almonds. This is different from almond flour, which is made from blanched, peeled almonds. Either use almond meal or grind your own almonds into a sandy texture.
  4. Be sure to use room temperature eggs and butter for the frangipane! If they are cold, the mixture will look like it starts to curdle when adding the eggs.
  5. Wait until the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking time to add the almonds to ensure they do not burn.
  6. Store your Bakewell tart in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

More Fruit Desserts:

side view of a slice of bakewell tart showing the cherry jam layer inside

Traditional Bakewell Tart

Yield: Serves 12
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

With a crisp and buttery shortbread crust, cherry jam, and an almond frangipane sponge layer, this Bakewell Tart is a perfect breakfast or dessert.


For the Shortbread Crust:

  • 2 cups (240 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, frozen
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons cold water

For the Frangipane:

  • 9 tablespoons (127 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (127 grams) confectioners' sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/3 cups (112 grams) almond meal
  • 1/4 cup (30 grams) all-purpose flour

To Assemble:

  • 1 cup (340 grams) cherry jam
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 cup (43 grams) sliced almonds


  1. To make the shortbread crust, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Grate the frozen butter into the mixture and rub the butter into the flour, using fingers or a pastry cutter, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Lightly beat the egg yolks with the almond extract and stir this into the flour mixture. Continue to mix while adding just enough water to form a sticky dough. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Transfer the dough to the tart pan, pressing along the sides and trimming any excess dough. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 °F. Once the oven is up to temperature, line the top of the dough with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Blind bake the crust for 10 minutes, then remove the pie weights and parchment paper and bake for an additional 5 minutes until just barely golden. Reduce oven temperature to 375 °F and set crust aside to cool.
  4. To make the frangipane, cream together the butter and sugar using a mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the almond extract and beat for an additional 30 seconds. Spoon in the almond meal and all-purpose flour while the mixer is running and combine well.
  5. Spread 1 cup of jam evenly along the shortbread crust. Top with the frangipane, spreading to cover the entire surface of the tart. Smooth the top and bake at 375 °F for 20 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and scatter the sliced almonds across the top. Return to the oven and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center of the tart comes out clean. Dust with additional confectioners sugar and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.


  1. Note that the recipe uses almond meal, not almond flour.
  2. Ensure that the butter and eggs are at room temperature to prevent the frangipane batter from breaking.
  3. Store the Bakewell tart at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

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Traditional Bakewell Tart: With a crisp and buttery shortbread crust, cherry jam, and an almond frangipane sponge layer, this Bakewell Tart is a perfect breakfast or dessert.

This recipe was first published in June 2014 and updated with new photos and helpful tips in December 2023.