I have been making cheesecakes for over fifteen years, and I could never seem to get them just right. They almost always cracked across the top, instead of having a beautifully smooth finish, and always seemed a bit dry by the time the first slice was served. I have played with the recipe and method for years, and I think I have finally achieved the cheesecake I was always trying to create at home. I hope you enjoy!
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs (about 2 sleeves of graham crackers)
¼ cup melted butter
3 packages cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup sour cream (room temperature)
¾ cup sugar
4 eggs (room temperature)
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Spray a spring form pan with cooking spray, making sure the bottom and sides are evenly coated. (As an added precaution against leaky spring form pans, I also add a piece of aluminum foil to the bottom of the pan and tuck the aluminum foil up around the sides. This way, if anything leaks, it doesn’t wind up on the bottom of your oven!)
Mix the graham cracker crumbs and butter in a separate bowl, then pour into the spring form pan. Press the crumb mixture down with a flat item (I usually use a measuring cup.) Place in the freezer while preparing the filling.
In a stand mixer or large mixing bowl, add the cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar. Beat together on medium speed until fully incorporated, anywhere from 2-5 minutes.
Slow down the mixer and add the eggs in one at a time. Make sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure all ingredients are fully incorporated. Return the mixer to medium speed for 1 minute.
Place a separate baking tray filled with water on the lower rack in the oven. Place the cheesecake on the rack above (not in) the water bath.
Bake for 45-55 minutes, or until the top is a lovely golden brown and there is still a wobble in the center. (Jiggle the pan gently to test for the wobble.)
Turn the oven off and leave the cooked cheesecake in the cooling oven for at least an hour, and up to 2 hours.
Place the cheesecake in the refrigerator, and chill for at least 3 hours before serving. This cheesecake is delicious on its own, but my favorite way to eat it is with strawberries!