The England captain gave Spurs an early lead against the run of play against a newly-promoted Nottingham Forest team roared on by another raucous home crowd, bobbling a low shot into the bottom corner after a fine pass from assist king Dejan Kulusevski for his 200th goal in league football.
Kane had the chance to double that advantage 10 minutes after the interval after he had been prevented from reaching Ivan Perisic’s fine cross by the hand of Steve Cook, who was fortunate to escape a red card for his inexplicable bout of volleyball.
Kane surprisingly failed with a Tottenham penalty for the first time since February 2018, a run of some 22 attempts dating back to a clash against Liverpool, with Manchester United loanee Dean Henderson celebrating wildly with his cap in hand in the East Midlands sunshine after guessing correctly low to his right and thwarting his England team-mate.
But Kane would have the last laugh, popping up again at the back stick to head home with less than 10 minutes to play after brilliant recovery work and a special outside-of-the-boot cross from Spurs substitute Richarlison.
That effort put the game beyond reach of an impressive Forest team that had the better of much of the game between the boxes, while it also saw Kane move level with Andy Cole as the joint-third highest goalscorer in Premier League history on 187 strikes.
Only Wayne Rooney (208) and Alan Shearer (260) now sit ahead of the 29-year-old, who has four in three matches already at the beginning of 2022-23 to banish any fears over another slow start to the campaign.
Despite another unconvincing performance that saw them totally outplayed at times, particularly in the first half, Tottenham remain unbeaten with their third win in four matches this term and move joint-second in the early top-flight table, level on points with Brighton and Manchester City and two behind north London rivals Arsenal, the early pacesetters who sealed a late victory over Fulham at the Emirates on Saturday evening to maintain their 100 per cent record.