My husband requests plain cheesecake with raspberry sauce every year for his birthday, it never changes. He likes what he likes. I always make the cheesecake that is already posted from allrecipes.com, but since we had family in town, I wanted to see if I could find an easier way to make a fantastic cheesecake. I turned to none other than Kitchen Cafe. She uses Tyler Florence, food network chef's, recipe and says she loves it. Since she and I tend to like the same type of food, I thought I would give it a try. Everyone agreed that it was amazing. My mom likes it just as much as the other one I make, and this one was so much easier, so I think I will make this one more often. It is creamy and decadent and is cheesecake perfection. I love the lemon zest, it added just a little something extra special and with the raspberry sauce, it was amazing! So, you can make both of these recipes and decide for yourself which one you like better.
3 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 40 squares)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lemon, zest finely grated
1 pint sour cream, room temperature
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-inch springform pan (I use a 10-inch springform pan b/c it is all I have and it works great) 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 to set up. Demold and transfer to a cake plate. Slice the cheesecake with a thin, nonserrated knife that has been dipped in hot water and wiped dry after each cut.
There is no need to bake this in a waterbath, it comes out perfect without it. I do leave mine in the oven after I turn it off with the door cracked open for at least 30 minutes to avoid cracks.