Junior's Cheesecake

Thin Sponge Cake Layer:

1/2 c. cake flour

1 tsp. baking powder

pinch of salt

3 extra-large eggs, separated

1/2 c. + 2 Tbl. sugar

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

3 drops pure lemon extract

3 Tbl. unsalted butter, melted

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Generously butter a 9-inch springform pan and wrap tightly with foil, covering the bottom and extending up the sides; set aside.  Sift the cake flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.  Beat the egg yolks together in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high for 3 minutes.  Then, with the mixer still running, gradually add 1/2 cup of sugar and continue beating until thick light-yellow ribbons form in the bowl, about 5 minutes more.  Beat in the vanilla and lemon extracts.  Sift the flour mixture over the batter and stir it in by hand until no more white flecks appear.  Then, blend in the butter.  In a clean bowl, using clean dry beaters, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar together on high until frothy.  Gradually add the remaining 2 Tbl. sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.  Stir about 1/3 cup of the whites into the batter, then gently fold in the remaining whites (don't worry if a few white specks remain).  Gently spoon the batter into the pan.  Bake the cake just until the center of the cake springs back when lightly touched, only about 10 minutes (watch carefully).  Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack while you continue making the cheesecake filling.  Do not remove the cake from the pan.

Cream Cheese Filling:

4 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese (regular, not light)

1 2/3 c. sugar

1/4 c. cornstarch

1 Tbl. pure vanilla extract

2 extra-large eggs

3/4 c. heavy whipping cream

Place an 8 oz. package of cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar and the cornstarch in a large bowl.  Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally.  Beat in the remaining 3 packages of cream cheese.  Increase the mixer speed to high and beat in the remaining 1 1/3 cups of sugar, then beat in the vanilla.  Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating the batter well after adding each one.  Blend in the heavy cream.  At this point, mix the filling only until completely blended (just like they do at Junior's).  Be careful not to over mix the batter.  Gently spoon the cheese filling on top of the baked sponge cake layer (I didn't add all the filling, because I was afraid it would overflow.  I did all but maybe 3/4 -1 cup).  

Place the springform pan in a large shallow pan containing hot water that comes about 1-inch up the sides of the pan.  Bake the cheesecake at 350 degrees until the center barely jiggles when you shake the pan, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Cool the cake on a wire rack for 1 hour.  Then, cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it is completely cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.  Remove the sides of the springform pan.  Slide the cake off the bottom of the pan onto a serving plate.  Or, if you wish, simply leave the cake on the removable bottom of the plan and place it on a serving plate.  Top with desired toppings.  If any cake is left over, cover it with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.