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Toasted Honey-Walnut Cake with Cheddar and Apples

Jesse Ziff Cool
Jesse Ziff Cool
Restaurateur & Cookbook Author Read More About Author
Ms. Cool quietly started her own kind of revolution, opening one of the first organic restaurants in the country. It was a struggle to maintain her strong sense of idealism, since this was a time long before the word "organic" came to describe part of a growing trend of more healthful eating. In her early days, she was the only restaurateur in her area bringing in organic local produce, and often struggled to find reliable sources for the types of ingredients she needed. Ultimately, her dedication to her ideals paid off, and her restaurants became more and more successful, weathering the ups and downs of Silicon Valley's busts and booms.

After her many challenges and successes, Ms. Cool is nothing if not practical. Running successful restaurants while raising a family has given her hands-on experience in how to make her ideals work in real life. She often hears questions such as "Organic sounds great, but isn't it expensive? How do I make it work in my busy life?" After making healthy local food work in the competitive restaurant environment, she has many practical answers.

Jesse Cool finds her roots in her closeness to her family, which now includes two grandchildren. Many of her parents and grandparents were in the food business in one way or another, whether as farmers, bakers, or grocers. From them she learned the value of good food made from healthy ingredients, and she learned how much good food, eaten in good company, nurtures an important part of each of us.

Ms. Cool has been the creative force behind seven unique restaurants and the author of seven books as well as numerous articles. Her former restaurants include Late for the Train, Two Fools Caf, and Jzcool Eatery and Wine Bar. Her present associations are Flea St. Caf (1982), (1999), The Cool Caf (2000), The Cool Caf, and CoolEatz Catering at Menlo Business Park, 2010.

Jesse Cool is the author of Simply Organic released in spring 2008,The True and Real One Pot Cookbook (2006), Toast: Sixty Ways To Butter Your Toast and More (2003), Your Organic Kitchen (2000),Breakfast in Bed, (1997), Onions: A Country Garden Cookbook(Collins, SF 1995), and Tomatoes: A Country Garden Cookbook (1994).

In addition to her restaurants and numerous cookbooks, Jesse Ziff Cool is a guest lecturer at the Stanford Medical School and Stanford Cardiovascular Nursing School. She is also involved with teaching at the Stanford University STEP Program: Teaching Elementary School Teachers, teaching at Draeger's Culinary Center for ten years, Ahwahnee Chef's Holidays for 22 years, Second Harvest Food Bank, and Sur La Table. She is a consultant on organic sustainable eating for the National Park Service and a consultant for Stanford Hospital, having implemented the first organic menu option for patients. She has appeared on Fox Network's, KTVU Channel Two, NBC's The Today Show, The Food Network, and Bay TV. She is also the recipient of many business awards, including awards for "green" business practices and numerous Women Business Leader awards.
toasted honey walnut cake


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Generously oil a 10-inch square baking pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, pepper and salt and stir to mix. In another bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the butter, organic honey and organic light brown sugar until completely blended for about 1 minute. Add the sour cream, vanilla and eggs.
  3. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, folding gently until smooth
    do not over-mix. Fold in the walnuts.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 30 minutes, then invert the pan and remove the cake.
  5. Let the cake cool completely, then wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
  6. Preheat the broiler. Cut the cake into 1 -inch thick pieces and place on a baking sheet. Fan a few apple slices on top of each piece and sprinkle with the cheese. Broil for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly.
Recipe Source: From “Toast” by Chef Jesse Ziff Cool


  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Wholesome Organic Honey
    Organic Raw Unfiltered Honey, Jar
    Buy Now Find In Store
  • 1/2 cup Wholesome Organic Light Brown Sugar
    Organic Light Brown Sugar
    Buy Now Find In Store
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cage-free organic eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/12 cups (about 3 oz) walnuts
  • 1/2 apple, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 oz cheddar cheese, grated