2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 stick butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9 inch spring form pan by wrapping the bottom with two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Spray the pan with non-stick spray. Mix the graham cracker crumbs, two tablespoons of sugar, and the cooled butter and press firmly into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Place the prepared spring form pan into an oven-proof pan that it can fit into and is deep enough to use as a water bath. Set aside.
Plain Cheesecake Filling:
3 (8-ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
3 eggs at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
With an electric mixer on medium, beat the cream cheese for several minutes and then add the cup of sugar and continue beating until the mixture until fluffy and creamy. Make sure all of the cream cheese is well beaten. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Stir the lemon juice and vanilla into the heavy cream until well blended. (may be a little lumpy).
Add the cream mixture to the cream cheese mixture and mix well at medium speed. Scrape down the sides and beaters periodically so that the mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan.
Place the spring form pan inside the other pan and fill the outer pan with enough hot water to put it halfway up the sides of the spring form pan. (make sure the foil is securely around the pan so it doesn't allow water to get into the cheesecake). Place the two (2) pans into the oven on the middle rack.
Bake about 45 minutes or until it is golden brown and the edges are firm to about 1 inch in on the pan.
Turn off the oven and open the door slightly but leave the cheesecake in the two pans inside the oven until they are cool enough to touch. After cooling to this point, it should be firmer and no longer jiggle when moved.
Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack after running a sharp knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake (but do not remove the rim yet). After cool, chill in the refrigerator at least four hours. Remove rim of the pan before serving.