Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a 9-inch springform pan with a large sheet of parchment paper.
Add the room temperature cream cheese to a large bowl and mix well with a hand mixer until creamy and smooth (you can also use a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment).
Add the sugar one cup at a time, mixing well to combine after each addition to help the sugar dissolve.
Add the room temperature eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Mix well, but don't over-mix or whip the batter. This will create large air bubbles in the batter which can cause cracking and an uneven texture.
Add the lemon zest (if using) and vanilla and mix just enough to combine.
Sift the flour through a small sieve and add it to the batter, mixing gently to combine.
Pour in the room temperature heavy whipping cream and mix well to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
Pour the batter into the line springform pan and bang the pan gently on the countertop to encourage any bubbles to come to the top.
Place the pan in the oven and bake for 35 minutes until the cheesecake is set around the edges but jiggly in the middle. It will be fairly brown on top, so feel free to turn the cheesecake in the oven halfway through baking for an even colour.
Let the cheesecake cool in the pan until completely cooled to room temperature. Then place it in the fridge to chill for about 2 hours or overnight.
Slice and serve with some fresh berries, or all on its own.
This cheesecake is best enjoyed 2 hours after chilling, or the next day. Store it in the fridge until ready to serve.