It was no less than we deserved after laying siege to the West Ham goal in the second half.
Standing in our way - Hammers' goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen.
He made eight top-drawer saves on the night but even he could do nothing about Bale's masterpiece in the 90th minute, a 30-yarder that arrowed into the top corner.
It was a stunning way to complete our comeback from 2-1 down after Joe Cole's goal in the 59th minute and stretch our run to one defeat in 14 matches in the Premier League. The victory leapfrogged us over Chelsea into third place.
Andre Villas-Boas made three changes from Thursday night's starting line-up at Lyon. Hugo Lloris, Steven Caulker and Michael Dawson returned for Brad Friedel, William Gallas and Kyle Naughton. Jan Vertonghen switched to left-back.
Bale, floating centrally around Emmanuel Adebayor, showed his intent early, shifting away from Gary O'Neil and James Collins before firing a yard wide.
Lloris produced a fine save to deny the lively Matt Jarvis on 10 minutes but we were ahead three minutes later.
Guy Demel looked to nick the ball from Adebayor but only succeeded in playing it straight to Bale, central, 25 yards out. He needed no second invitation and drilled across Jaaskelainen into the far corner.
Bale broke forward again on 24 minutes and had Vertonghen in support to his left, but opted to go himself and shot straight at Jaaskelainen.
A minute later and it was 1-1. The ball bobbled around in the box and eventually landed at Carroll's feet. Scott Parker threw himself in to block but caught the striker in the process. Carroll hit the top corner from 12 yards.
The next chance arrived on 39 minutes as Cole lobbed a pass into Jarvis, who had sprinted left to right. Kyle Walker tracked the run all the way and made a superb sliding block.
Jaaskelainen produced a reaction save to keep out Caulker's header before the final shot of the half and another Bale free-kick special from 35 yards, this time the ball dipped late and just wide with Jaaskelainen rooted to the spot.
Jaaskelainen was soon back into action in the second half with two saves in a minute. The first came as Vertonghen's attempted cross deflected off Demel and forced a scrambling tip around the post to his right. Bale delivered the corner and it was carbon copy of the first half as Caulker powered his header at goal, this time straight at the keeper, who parried away.
Gylfi Sigurdsson replaced Lewis Holtby on 56 minutes and forced another fine save from Jaaskelainen with his first touch, a dipping curler that the keeper flicked onto the inside of the post. The rebound bounced straight at Adebayor, who directed his header back at goal but Jaaskelainen was up in time to complete his doubler save.
Two minutes later and the Hammers took the lead. Joey O'Brien clipped a pass into Cole from the left, Cole beat the offside trap and fired across Lloris into the far corner.
From there, it was the Jaaskelainen show. He completed a hat-trick of saves from the Bale/Caulker corner with the best of the lot, reaching to tip over the defender's downward header from close range on 68 minutes. A minute later and he got the slightest of fingertips to Bale's curler destined for the top corner, the ball glancing the top of the crossbar on the way over.
Lloris made a key save one-on-one from Matt Taylor on 74 minutes before we finally beat Jaaskelainen for the second time. West Ham failed to clear Bale's free-kick, Adebayor had a swing and the ball fell to Sigurdsson, who squeezed it home at the far post.
That wasn't enough though - we wanted the win. Jaaskelainen stood between us again, turning away Bale's stab at goal from Parker's flick and then palming away Adebayor's header from Vertonghen's pinpoint cross on 82 minutes.
That made it eight saves - but even Jaaskelainen was powerless to prevent another Bale beauty in the 90th minute.
West Ham (4-5-1): Jaaskelainen; Demel (Pogatetz, 73), Collins, Reid, O'Brien; J Cole, Diame (Collison, 84), O'Neil, Nolan (Taylor, 35), Jarvis; Carroll. Unused subs: Spiegel, C Cole, Vaz Te, Chamakh.
Spurs (4-4-2): Lloris; Walker, Caulker, Dawson, Vertonghen; Dembele (Carroll, 75), Parker (Livermore, 88); Lennon, Holtby (Sigurdsson, 56); Adebayor, Bale. Unused subs: Friedel, Assou-Ekotto, Gallas, Naughton.
Yellow cards: West Ham - Diame, O'Neil, Cole, Collins. Spurs - Dembele.
Goals: West Ham - Carroll (penalty, 25), J Cole (59). Spurs - Bale (13, 90), Sigurdsson (76).
Referee: Mr H Webb.