For a basic cheesecake recipe, combine cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract and eggs, and bake the mixture for one hour. This recipe requires approximately 20 minutes of preparation time and makes 12 servings.
To make the crust, combine 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Add in 3 tablespoons of cold butter until the mixture is crumbly and thoroughly combined. Grease the sides of a 9-inch springform pan, and press the crust mixture into the bottom. Place the pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the baking sheet, and place it on a wire rack to cool.
In a large bowl, combine 4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese and 1 1/4 cups of sugar. Using a hand- or stand-mixer, beat until smooth. Beat in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Add 3 lightly beaten eggs. Beat at low speed until combined. Return the springform pan to the baking sheet, and pour the mixture onto the crust. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 to 55 minutes until the center of the cheesecake is almost set. Move the pan to the wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Use a knife to carefully loosen the side of the cheesecake from the pan. Cool for one hour longer before releasing the springform pan to remove the cheesecake. Store in the refrigerator.