For the crust:
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
- 2 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 5 whole extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 extra-large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (2 lemons)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the topping (Optional):
- 1 cup red jelly (not jam), such as currant, raspberry, or strawberry
- 3 half-pints fresh raspberries
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. To make the crust, combine the graham crackers, sugar, and melted butter until moistened. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and about 1-inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
2. Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add the eggs and egg yolks, 2 at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the bowl and beater, as necessary. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.
3. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees F and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and open the door wide. The cake will not be completely set in the center. Allow the cake to sit in the oven with the door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to sit at room temperature for another 2 to 3 hours, until completely cooled. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.
4. Remove the cake from the springform pan by carefully running a hot knife around the outside of the cake. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving.
5. Options Topping: melt the jelly in a small pan over low heat. In a bowl, toss the raspberries and the warm jelly gently until well mixed. Arrange the berries on top of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
PREP TIME: 30 min
TOTAL TIME: 1hr 30min