This is my first time ever making a REAL Cheesecake. I went and bought myself a springform pan (something I have wanted for along time) and then found a great recipe that I slightly adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe, a blog I just LOVE. It turned out perfect. My only advice is that you make this when you have company or for someone else. It is dangerous to have something this good all to yourself :)
For the Crust:
3 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 40 squares)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
For the Filling:
2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Zest of about half a lemon
1 pint sour cream
To prepare crumb crust: In a mixing bowl, combine the crust ingredients together with a fork until evenly moistened. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of a 9 or 10 inch springform pan with non-stick cooking spray. Firmly press the mixture over the bottom and 1-inch up the sides on the pan, use your fingers or the smooth bottom of a glass. Refrigerate the crust while preparing the filling.
To prepare filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute just until smooth and free of any lumps. Gradually add the sugar and beat until creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to slowly beat until combined. Stir in the vanilla and lemon zest. Blend in the sour cream. The batter should be well mixed but not overbeaten. Overbeating incorporates too much air and will cause the cake to puff when baking, then fall and crack when cooling. Pour filling into the crust-lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 50-55 minutes. The cheesecake should still jiggle slightly, it will firm up after chilling. Be careful not to overcook! Do not do a toothpick test in the cake’s center, this will make a crack. Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim. Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours but I found it tasted best after setting over night. Demold and transfer to a cake plate. I served mine with fresh Raspberries and some Whipped cream. DELISH!