Plan to make the cake at least a day before serving; it needs time in the refrigerator to chill and set.
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
24 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
4 tablespoons clear vanilla extract
Sour Cream Topping
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons clear vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
For Crust: Mix graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a mixing bowl; pour into a 9-inch springform pan. (Line the pan with a circle of parchment paper if desired.) With a spoon, pat mixture evenly on the bottom and up the sides of the pan.
For Filling: Add softened cream cheese to the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on low speed, adding sugar gradually. Add vanilla, then add eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly with each addition. Pour into crust. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Remove from oven and set on a rack to cool.
For Topping: Mix sour cream, vanilla extract and sugar together until smooth. Pour evenly onto cooled cheesecake. Refrigerate overnight. (Cheesecake will firm up as it chills. Do not attempt to slice it until the following day.)
Makes 12 to 16 servings.