Preheat the oven to 325° and grease a 9 inch springform pan. You will need a large roasting pan that’s bigger and longer than the springform pan. (You can even use the aluminum foil disposable ones). If you are not sure about your springform holding up in water, you can wrap the outside of the springform pan in heavy duty aluminum foil from bottom up to the sides. Try to use a wide kind of foil so you would only need to use 1 solid sheet. (I recommend wrapping the outside of the springform in foil before adding the crust and cheesecake batter.)
Although, there is a chance that a small amount of water will leak in, this will NOT ruin the cheesecake.
Combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter, vanilla extract, and brown sugar in a mixing bowl and mix very well.
Spray inside of the springform pan with some cooking spray, making sure you get the sides too.
Spread crumb mixture in the bottom of the prepared springform, evenly pressing it over the bottom and a little up the sides.
In a bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy. I give it a good 2-3 minutes of beating to get is soft and smooth. Scrape sides and bottom on the bowl and beat for another minute.
Pour in sugar while beating and add eggs, one at a time. Beat it until smooth. Stop to scrape bottom and sides of the bowl.
Add sour cream, vanilla extract, and heavy whipping cream and beat, still on medium-high speed, until all mixed very well.
Lower the speed and beat in corn starch. Scrape sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for a few more seconds to make sure everything is evenly mixed.
Transfer batter into the springform and spread in evenly.
Baking The Cheesecake:
Preheat oven to 325°.
Place a large roasting pan into the oven and place cheesecake springform inside the roasting pan. Carefully add hot water to the roasting pan, about half way up the side of the springform.
Bake for 85-90 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the oven door half way. Let cheesecake rest for 10 minutes and take it out of the oven. Take the foil wrap off the pan.
Let it rest for 10 minutes on the counter and then gently run a butter knife between sides of the cheesecakes and the springform to carefully separate it. (You don’t actually have to take the cheesecake out of the pan until ready to serve.)
Cool cheesecake for an hour and then cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
Storing The Cheesecake:
Cheesecake will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Store it in the original baking pan and make sure to re-wrap the pan with plastic wrap air-tight after each time you take out a slice. *See the post for freezing instructions
Strawberry Cheesecake (Optional):
Strawberry topping is the most classic and beloved topping for a simple New York Cheesecake. It is also incredibly simple to prepare and only takes about 15 minutes.
You will need a pound of strawberries, 3/4 cup of sugar, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, teaspoon of vanilla, and 1/4 cup of water.
Wash strawberries, cut off stems, and chop them into small cubes.
Preheat a sauce pot over medium heat. Add diced strawberries, water, and lemon juice. Let it cook for a couple of minutes and stir in sugar and vanilla. Cook over medium-low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring often.