Beachgirl's Basic Cheesecake
32 ounces cream cheese
1 cup Splenda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons sour cream
With an electric mixer -- combine the cream cheese and Splenda at slow to medium speed -- scraping sides often. Add all other ingredients except eggs. When completely mixed (with no lumps) -- add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time -- beating very slowly. When eggs are incorporated, do not mix any more. Over-mixing the eggs is a contributing cause of cracked cheesecakes. (The leading cause of cracking is over-cooking -- so do not believe any one who tells you it is normal for a cheesecake to be -- it is not.) Always treat the cracked batter gently.
Pour the mixture into the springform pan. Place the pan on a very large piece of aluminum foil, and fold the foil up around the pan to create a watertight barrier around the cheesecake. Then place the barrier pan in an
even larger pan and fill the larger pan halfway with water. This is called a water bath. It is a gentler way to cook the cheesecake.
Place the entire water bath containing the cheesecake in a 300-degree preheated oven. Cook for 1 hour and reduce heat to 200 degrees for 1 more hour. Turn oven off and leave cheesecake in until the oven is completely cool. The cheesecake can even be left overnight at this point. Cracks can also occur when a cheesecake cools too quickly.
It may be beneficial to run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake, separating it from the sides of the pan. If your goal is to serve the cheesecake on a different dish without the bottom of the spring form pan,
then the pan can be lined with parchment paper before the batter is poured in. Make sure to grease both sides of the paper. This will make for easy removal of the cheesecake later. It works best if the cheesecake has been refrigerated fully before trying to remove it from the bottom pan.