1 cup butter (at room temperature)
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
24 ounces cream cheese (at room temperature)
Grated zest of 2 lemons
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Set half the butter aside. Melt 3/4 of the remaining butter and use the 2 extra tablespoons to grease a 10-inch springform pan.
Combine cracker crumbs, cornmeal, 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the melted butter in a bowl and mix thoroughly. The mixture will be in crumbs, not a dough. Dump it out into the prepared pan and press it into the bottom and 1 inch up the sides. Bake about 10 minutes or until light golden. Remove from oven and set aside.
Cream remaining butter, remaining 1 cup sugar and cream cheese with lemon zest in large bowl of electric mixer until smooth. Add buttermilk and vanilla extract and beat, occasionally scraping down the sides, until well mixed. Add eggs and beat slowly until just combined. Do not over-beat.
Pour the batter into the reserved crust and bake 25 minutes. Reduce the heat to 300 degrees F and bake an additional 25 minutes.
Reduce the heat to 200 degrees F and bake until done, approximately 20 minutes more or until cake is set around the edges and barely jiggly in the very center. Cool and chill several hours before serving.
Serves 10 to 12.
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