An hour ahead of time, unwrap your cream cheese blocks and set them out at room temperature to soften. When the cream cheese is softened, start the recipe.
Move the top oven rack down to the second lowest position in your oven, with nothing above it (to prevent over browning the cheesecake). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch springform pan. (See notes if you have a 9-inch springform.)
Fill a roasting pan ¼ full with hot water. If you have a leak-proof springform, place it in the water bath. If you suspect your springform will leak, (see notes) place it in a pie dish, then place the pie dish with the springform in the water bath.
In a large mixing bowl, add one block of cream cheese and beat it until creamy. Continue adding one block of cream cheese at a time and beating well, scraping the bowl as needed. There must not be any lumps in your batter. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition on low. Add the remaining ingredients one at a time, mixing to combine after each addition. When all ingredients have been added, beat on high (or as high as you can without splashing) for seven minutes.
Transfer the batter to the springform pan (filling it no more than ¾ of the way to the top; see notes for what to do with extra batter). Bake the springform in the water bath for 10 minutes at 400 degrees F. Then lower the temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for 45-55 minutes. The top should be set, except for a small circle in the middle. Do not insert anything into the cheesecake to test it, or it will crack. Turn off the heat and let the cheesecake stay in the oven with the door ajar for one hour.
Leave the cheesecake in the springform pan and let it finish cooling on a wire rack. Refrigerate the cheesecake overnight before cutting into it.
To slice, remove the outer circle of the pan and dip a knife in warm water to make the cuts. (Keep the bottom of the pan under the cheesecake. You can even place the cheesecake with the bottom portion of the pan on a cake stand.) Store the cheesecake covered in the refrigerator (you can keep it in the springform) for up to three days or freeze it for up to 3 weeks.
To test if your springform leaks, place your springform pan in the water bath and wait 10 minutes to see if any water seeps into your springform. If so, dry it, grease it and place your springform in a pie dish. Then place the pie dish with the springform in the water bath.
Even if you have a 10-inch springform, just fill it ¾ full so it doesn't overflow. If you only have a 9-inch springform pan, fill it ¾ full with the batter. Bake the remaining batter in two ramekins or another suitable baking dish, in a water bath, ideally in a separate oven, so you can pull out them out earlier without affecting the springform cheesecake. I baked my extra batter in a separate oven for 10 minutes at 400 degrees, then 25 minutes at 375 degrees, then left it in the oven with the door ajar for 20 minutes. If you don't have a separate oven, bake the ramekins/baking dish in the same oven with the springform cheesecake for the full amount of time (it's important not to open the oven during baking) and just know that the ramekins/baking dish will come out a bit overcooked, but tasty.
This cheesecake is barely adapted from a Williams Sonoma recipe.