In a bowl, combine 2 cups graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 6 Tbsp melted butter. Mix until the butter is fully incorporated.
Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick foil and spray with nonstick spray. Then fill with the graham cracker crumbs. Press and compact the bottom of the pan with graham cracker crumbs using your hands. You can either press it into one thick layer or you can press some of the crumbs up the sides of the springform.
To set the crust, place it on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the crust cool. Spray a little more cooking spray to the sides of the springform pan so that the cheesecake will come off easier after it's baked. In the bowl of a stand mixer, blend 4 (8-oz) packages of softened cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar on medium-high speed until no clumps appear. You will need to use the paddle attachment for this part.
Then mix in 1 tsp vanilla extract and 1 cup sour cream. Now drop the speed to the lowest setting and add the room temperature eggs 1 at a time, beating each egg at low speed, making sure each egg is blended before adding the next. Be sure not to over mix. Over-mixing will cause the incorporated air to crack the cheesecake during baking. Scrape the sides of the mixer during this process to incorporate any cream cheese that has stuck to the side of the bowl.
Pour the cream cheese filling into the greased spring form pan. Grip the sides of the springform and shake it a little to smooth out the top.
Bake the cheesecake at 350 Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Then drop the oven temperature to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another 1 hour and 30 minutes. Do not open the oven at all, or else it can crack in the middle from the sudden temperature change. Once it’s done, let the cheesecake sit in the turned off oven until it is fully cooled down (about 4 hours)
Mix 1 cup sour cream with 2 tbsp sugar and evenly spread onto the cheesecake. Then refrigerate for 4 hours before eating.
Once the cheesecake is cooled, spread the sour cream mixture on top. Then place in the fridge for at least another 4 hours. Serve chilled with fresh raspberry sauce on top.
Use room temperature eggs and cream cheese- Using room temperature ingredients is a must. Otherwise, you'll have clumps no matter how well you beat them. Let them come to room temp naturally because microwaving will leave an uneven consistency.
Don't overbeat the eggs- This is one of the biggest reasons why cheesecakes crack. When adding the eggs, you want to add 1 egg at a time on low speed, not adding the next until there aren't any more yellow streaks in the batter. You can even whisk them separately first. This will reduce the amount of air incorporated into the batter, which makes it crack while baking.
Never open the oven door early- I know it's tempting to peek, but never open the oven door when a cheesecake is baking or cooling. The sudden changes in temperate will cause it to collapse.
Use nonstick foil and cooking spray - This step isn’t crucial but it sure makes life a lot easier when the cheesecake slides right off of the foil.