There are two keys to getting a light, creamy cheesecake: First, you'll want to make sure all the ingredients, particularly the cream cheese, sour cream and eggs, are at room temperature. And second, you should whip the batter until it's light and fluffy. Cheesecake fillings tend to be bland, so I added pure vanilla extract and freshly grated lemon zest to the batter. Then, after the cheesecake was baked and cooled, I mixed fresh raspberries with warm currant jelly and piled it all on top. Easy and dramatic is my idea of the perfect party dessert - my friends went crazy when I brought it to the table!
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 1/2 -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.
Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. Test your oven with an oven thermometer to be sure it's accurate! 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 for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Reduce the mixer to medium and add the eggs and egg yolks, two 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.
Place the cheesecake on a sheet pan and 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.
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.
Melt the jelly in a medium saucepan over low heat. Toss the raspberries in the warm jelly gently until well mixed. Pile the berries on top of the cake. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Make-Ahead PlanYou can bake the cheesecake up to 2 days ahead; refrigerate in the springform pan. Top with the berries before serving.