This one is the creation of Karen Barker, a James Beard Foundation Award winning pastry chef. Notice the omission of the water bath (Glory be!) and instead lowers the oven temperature at intervals. This keeps the cake smooth and completely crack free.Source: Unknown
1Preheat oven to 350. For gas oven place a rack in lower level For electric oven, put rack in middle level. Butter a 10 inch springform pan, line bottom and sides with parchment paper and butter the parchment paper.
2Mix graham cracker crumbs,cornmeal, sugar and melted butter in a bowl. Mix with fork til crumbs are evenly moistened. Press crumbs into bottom and half an inch up the side of pan. You can use the bottom of a 1/4 cu measuring cup for this. It allows a smoother crust than you can get using your fingers. Bake for about 8 minutes, or til crust just starts to pick up a bit of color around edge. Remove from oven and let cool. Leave oven on.
3Mix cream cheese, butter and brown sugar in bowl of mixer fitted with paddle attachment or in large bowl with handheld mixer and mix til very smooth. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Add molasses and vanilla and mix. Add sour cream and mix. Add heavy cream and mix just to blend. Add eggs, one at a time and mix just til incorporated. Scrape bowl, making sure filling is well mixed. Pour into prepared crust.
4Bake for 20 minutes, then turn oven down to 300 and bake for 20 minutes more and turn the oven down to 250 and bake for 20 minutes more. Turn oven to low or 225 degrees. Continue baking til cake looks set around the edge but just a bit jiggly in very center.
5Meanwhile, whisk together sour cream, brown sugar and brandy or bourbon or orange juice. Ass soon as the cake is done, remove it from oven and turn oven up to 350. Slowly and evenly pour sour cream topping over cake. You can use an offset spatula to help spread it into a even layer. Bake for 3 minutes or til topping is just set. Let cool completely in pan on wire rack. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving. Serves 12
6Notes: The timing for the final baking in the low oven differs widely from oven to oven. The only way to be sure is to nudge the cake and check that the edge is set and the center is just jiggly. This takes anywhere form 20 to 40 minutes. the topping may bake longer than 3 minutes to set. How long depends on how quickly our oven reheat. Don't leave cake in too long, though. You want the topping to barely set, usually 5 to 10 minutes.
7Also, have all your ingredients at room temperature. Don't overbeat the filling. Line the sides and bottom of pan with parchment paper. Don't overbake: overbaking is the most common cause of cracking. Cool cake completely on wire rack before refrigeration, If the surface still cracks, decorate it with berries.