By People Staff
November 14, 2012 12:00 PM

Set the Table

Keep It Simple

For a laid-back vibe, nix formal place settings. Instead set out a stack of dessert plates with forks and have mugs lined up, ready to be filled.

Make the First Cut

Preslice a few pieces of coffee cake so guests aren’t awkwardly waiting for someone to dig in first. Plus, leave the serving knife on the platter; it will encourage everyone to help themselves!


A fave recipe from N.Y.C. celeb hotspot Billy’s Bakery

Makes 1 loaf

1½ cups sugar, divided

5½ tsp. cinnamon, divided

6 tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature

2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

3 tsp. baking powder

½ tsp. nutmeg

¾ tsp. salt

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup oil

2 tsp. vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Butter and flour a 9×5-in. metal loaf pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper. For the topping, combine ½ cup sugar, 4 tsp. cinnamon and butter in a small bowl. Mix together with a fork until crumbly. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, 1½ tsp. cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until combined.

2. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with half of the topping. Pour the remaining batter evenly over the topping and sprinkle with the remaining topping. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely in pan.

For Cinnamon and Pecan Coffee Cake: Add an additional 1½ tsp. cinnamon to the batter and ½ cup chopped pecans to the topping.

For Chocolate Orange Spice Cake: Replace ½ cup flour with ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder and add zest and juice of 1 orange to the liquid ingredients. Bake for 60 minutes.

Or have it delivered to your door! Coffee cake, $24 plus shipping;

Celeb Coffees

David Lynch Coffee

The famed filmmaker serves up three different blends, which he chose and tested himself, $11.60 for 12 oz.,

La Colombe LYON

Leonardo DiCaprio teams up with La Colombe to help environmental charities with sales of this sustainable blend, $12.25 for 12 oz.,

Laughing Man

All profits from Hugh Jackman‘s collaboration with coffee farmers abroad go towards education charities around the world, $12 for 12 oz.,

Rockin’ & Roastin’

Aerosmith drummer Joey Kramer offers organic artisanal roasts. His fave? The Guatemala, $12.95 for 12 oz.,