1 cup heavy whipping cream
2-3 Tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1. Position rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Wrap a double layer of heavy-duty foil around the outside of a 10-inch springform pan. (Can use a glass or metal pan that isn't springform, but results are slightly different, especially when it comes to removing the cheesecake.)
2. To prepare the crust, combine graham crackers, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl or food processor. Blend until graham crackers are very finely ground (if you don’t have a food processor you can crush them yourself with a rolling pin). Drizzle butter over. Pulsing, blend until crumbs begin to stick together (or mix by hand with a spatula). Press crumbs onto bottom (not sides) of springform pan. Bake in preheated oven until crust is slightly golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool while preparing filling. Maintain oven temperature.
3.To prepare the filling, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs 1 at a time. Add pumpkin and remaining 7 ingredients. Beat just until blended. Pour filling into prepared crust. Place springform pan in large roasting pan. Add enough water to come halfway up sides of springform pan.
4. Bake cheesecake for 90 minutes, or until slightly puffed and softly set and top is golden. (At this point I turned off the oven and left the door cracked open to gradually cool the cake. After a little while I transferred it to the counter to cool completely.) Transfer springform pan to rack and cool. Cover and refrigerate cake overnight.
5. Using a knife, cut around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake. Release pan sides. Cut cheesecake into wedges and serve drizzled with caramel sauce and a dollop of real whipped cream.
6. For perfect whipped cream, use a bowl that’s large enough to allow the cream to double in volume. Refrigerate the bowl and beaters for at least half an hour, or place them in the freezer for 15 minutes, and make sure the cream is very cold. Use the freshest whipping cream available, and add sugar, vanilla, or any other ingredients near the end of whipping; adding them too soon in the process will decrease the amount of volume you achieve.