Cheesecakes and Springform Pans

New York Style Vanilla Strawberry Cheesecake

springform-pan

Let me start off by saying I dislike many things about the Springform pan.

But the #1 worst thing I dislike about them, is that spellcheck flags me every time I write Springform Pan. (Apparently it is Spring Form?  Ooooh the pretentiousness is making it worse)

However~ if you search Amazon, or anyone else in the world talking about springform pans you will see it is spelled WITHOUT A SPACE!!

No, I am not grammar police since you can attest to the fact that I spell things wrong all the time and my world doesn’t fall to pieces.

Heck I hate apostrophes….but well….thats for another blog post post (I just find them tedious, there I said it).

But let’s get real about springform pans and cheesecakes. (Yes google I am ignoring your red underlined alerts that I failed English 101)

I have not encountered one person who has said to me, “Oh my God…my cheesecake came out perfect because I used a springform pan and no water bath”

On the contrary, I have gotten: “What did I do wrong? My cheesecake was all soggy because the water leaked into it”.

Or, I am not using a water bath because I don’t want a leaky crust , but my cheesecake was dry and cracked, what did I do wrong?”

First of all let’s address the water bath.

Why do we have to use a water bath when baking cheesecakes?

Cheesecakes are not cakes. They are baked custards.

Custard is a delicate balance of eggs and dairy that require a less harsh heating environment, thus~ the water bath was born.

The heat must now travel through a layer of water before it gets to the actual item you are baking, thus creating a very mild, yet effective heating environment for those delicate egg and dairy proteins.

I am not exactly sure who invented the Springform pan (yea….that’s the level of disdain I have for whoever it was,  that I cannot even give 2 minutes to “Wikipedia” the topic)

I want to believe it was some inane, egotistical person who just had to invent yet one more kitchen gadget that has only one purpose, and an inferior purpose at that.

Can ya feel my anger?!

It should be dubbed the “Spring-a-Leak Pan” since that’s all it really does (in my opinion)

Well….Ok ~ I won’t be so extremely harsh. I honestly have recommended the springform pan collar (no bottom) attached when making molded cakes such as the 7 Layer Ice Cream Cake, Chocolate Eclair Cake and the Death to Diets Cake, where if you don’t have a Ring Mold ~ a springform pan with no bottom inserted will do just fine.

But let’s not get too sentimental with the old Springform.

In my opinion it should have been retired long ago.

Better yet…BURIED!

I just don’t have anything nice to say about it because there is a perfectly AWESOME substitute for baking cheesecakes and it is……………….. wait for it………….

a cake pan.

That’s right. The same pan you already have in your cabinet that you use for all your regular cake baking.

What a let down right?

No! Not a let down! It’s a damn glorious moment when you realize your entire life is a lie, and you have been led to believe that the end all – be all of cheesecake baking starts and stops with the springform pan. It’s just not true.

Now I know I will get some flack from the die-hard springform pans lovers, but until I can get a reason why the springform pan is better (and a valid reason please, not some pipe dream of the lie that you have bought into)…I’m sticking to my cake pans.

And just for the record, there will be no reason because it doesn’t exist.

Now, I am not just talking “who-ha” out of my pie hole. I have had many years experience in the professional bakery industry and I have yet to encounter a single establishment that commissions a springform pan for cheesecake. (by the way – I was educated at the Culinary Institute of America~ no springform pans there mate!)

Once I was seasoned into this work environment and I happened to give a retrospective thought to the “retired springform from my youth” (yes…… My first cheesecake was baked in a spring form of course….as was all of yours I’m sure……) I realized how insane it would have been to actually use springforms in a high volume bakery setting.

First of all they are cumbersome.

When running a commercial bakery there are two things that matter.

#1 Bottom line (Defintion: the ultimate outcome in financial terms from a days work – all things considered)

and #2 how to get to the best most efficient bottom line while keeping the highest quality~ product since after all, customers only care about high quality bang for the buck~ and rightly so.

So imagine paying someone to put together the tops and bottoms of your springform pan menagerie (since commercial bakeries bake dozens of cheesecakes at a time! not 1!)

First of all he/she must FIND the tops and bottoms to put them in place, and then the infamous foil wrapping begins.

The greasing to be sure you get all the crevices (and crevices are a-plenty in springform pan world)

Not only does that foil cost a lot in terms of $$$ but the environmental impact of that wasted material makes me cringe! (OK green girl, enough outta you.)

But just that labor cost alone makes me want to re think the entire process……. and we should!

I know not many of you have commercial bakeries, so what I just explained may not be of importance, but let’s talk about LEAKAGE!

Yes, you all know what I am talking about.

Soggy bottoms from a leaky springform pan no matter how tightly you wrapped it with about 1 lb of tin foil.  (wasteful~ tsk tsk.)

But this can all be avoided if you just trust me that a cake pan is superior.

I know….I know…it is difficult to change your thinking when you have been brainwashed to believe that the springform pan….the very same thing that was INVENTED for a sole purpose, could be anything less than perfect!

But I beg you to just try the cake pan method and you will be a believer!

Now the cake pan method is superior not only because it will not spring a leak, but in my opinion (combine my professional bakery pan grease & a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom) you will have a much better looking cheesecake once it is un-molded than any springform pan could dream of.

It may take a bit of practice on your first run, but heck so did the springform am I right??

I always use my trusty blowtorch but you can achieve the same results by simply dipping your pan into hot water to release the fats that cause the cheesecake to stick in the first place.

And let’s talk Pan Grease for a moment.

Well, not much to say except- USE THIS RECIPE  for ALL your baking needs, you will thank me for the rest of your life.

Now back to the infamous un-molding of the cheesecake.

Watch the video below to see just how to first of all to bake a cheesecake properly and second of all un-mold a cheesecake that is NOT in a springform pan!

And well……I don’t know what else to say, except ditch that springform pan and you will never have soggy-crusted, dry, cracked cheesecake sorrows again!

If nothing else, clear some room in your cabinets from a one-tasker taking up way too much room than it is worth the space for!

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60 Comments

  1. I have had success with Springforms. I found a forum that said you should use a oven bag around your springform in the waterbath. It has worked every time since I started doing that with no cracks.

    1. Yeah, they do work surely, but not without too much preparation for me- too tedious for my tastes!! Many people love them though, and that’s Ok by me! To each his own! thanks for the tip!

  2. I make a cold collar for my springform pans (damn you, red squiggle!) out of soaked paper towels that are wrapped in heavy duty foil. It works really well but as you say, lots of wasted stuff. I’ve never done the water bath thing but am now intrigued and will try it. I made a magic flan cake a few months ago that was in a water bath and it worked really well.

  3. I have used the spring form pan but when it calls for water bath, I put large baking pan half full of water on bottom shelf and put the spring form on the top level. Oh well works for me. But now I’ m curious will test drive your way. Who says you can’t teach an old new tricks . lol

    1. I meant to include this method in the video! (Thats what I get from creating this post at midnight! I was loopy!) But yes great idea, I also do a similar trick in my upcoming Nutella Cheesecake! stay tuned

  4. I’ve been using my 6″ X 3″ cake pans for years to make cheesecake. I have never trusted a springform wrapped in foil to not leak and I really don’t want to waste all that cheesecake. It’s one of the best ways to get a perfect cheesecake every time.

    1. for non bake I wouldnt chance it. Unless you are freezing them first- in which case you could get them out with a blowtorch and some finesse! LOL
      But I would use the springform for that- I mentioned in my eclair cake when I use a RING MOLD that the springform pan is the best for molded desserts like mine.

  5. This may have been your funniest and most entertaining post ever! I love it! Maybe because I have many of the same feelings (especially about the spelling of “springform”. I wish I could avoid the springform pan while making my Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake. 🙁
    Thanks for the tip!

  6. Hi Gretchen.. I wonder instead of going through the water bath process, can we just cook the cheese cake in a steamer? & yes, I went through that leaky cheesecake incident and I was so obsessed on googling the best springform pans available. Yet to find any. I gave up & instead I went for no bake cheesecake recipes, which are much easier to get them out of the normal pan…

  7. I am so grateful to you for explaining that you don’t need a springform pan, while you were still in your old bakery. I tried so many times to make a cheesecake with my springform — each was a disaster. The crusts would come out soaking wet or, if I didn’t use a water bath, there were splits all over the tops. I followed other recipe directions showing how to wrap the pan in foil. Still disasters. I bought a new springform, thinking mine was just too old. Same problems.

    There was no way of figuring out what I was doing wrong with the foil wrap. It finally dawned on me — I believe that condensation collects inside the bottom of the foil wrap and water still gets in the pan. After reading your blog, I ordered a Parrish Magic Line 9 x 3 Inch Round Aluminum Cake Pan from Amazon. It’s a beauty, easy to work with and now, perfect cheesecakes.

    Thanks to you, Gretchen.

  8. Dear Gretchen,

    Thank you indeed for the comprehensive lecture on “springform” pans.
    In regards to unbaked cheesecakes, Please give me some advice on using normal baking pans.

    Regards,

    1. You are welcome and I would not recommend for the unbaked cheesecake (however someone told me they did it and it worked!) But I dont do no-bake very often and would be nervous to try to get it out unless it was heavily lined with plastic wrap so I can grab it and lift it out with no trouble

  9. If Gretchen Price said it, that’s good enough for me. I didn’t need to know anything else! Lol…I love reading any history that goes behind it. Luv u Gretchen! Keep up the good work. 🙂 Cake pans it is!!!

  10. I went through quite a few springform pans before I found one at Williams Sonoma that doesn’t leak…and now you’re telling me to ditch it! Haha I think that as a pastry student I should take your advice, especially given the relevance to commercial kitchens. Now I need to go find a blowtorch!

  11. Hi ~

    I’ve been baking cheesecakes for years ~ all with the same recipe. Just within the last six months my cheesecakes have started to weep. I have done everything I can think of to prevent this from happening. I do know that baked custards tend to squeeze out moisture if the egg proteins get too hot, but I haven’t changed my baking times or temps either. Any thoughts on how to prevent this from continuing?

  12. Since my daughter bought me a set of springform pans I figured I was going to have to show that I used them. I used one of those clear turkey roasting bags. Cut down the top so you don’t have like 2 feet extra. Put the pan in after cheesecake is ready to bake and into the water bath. Nothing leaks in and you can dry off the bag and reuse it several times.

    That takes care of water getting in. I have a recipe for pineapple upside down cake where it called for a springform pan. It has to do with the fact that I cut the pineapple slices and arrange them around the sides as well as the bottom of the pan. I am glad I put the whole thing on a sheet pan or I am sure I would have had a fire with all the brown sugar/butter mixture oozing out the bottom. The next time I think I am going to try a regular cake pan but cover the sides with parchment as well as the bottom.

  13. I love my springform pan and my cheesecakes come out perfect, lol. I use a turkey roasting bag to place my pan in to to prevent leaks through the foil I wrap my pan in. I’ve been doing this for years. For some cheesecakes, I don’t use a waterbath. I place a pan of hot to boiling water on the rack below my cheesecake. The cheesecake bakes with steam inside the oven and keeps it moister. NOTHING beats a waterbath but for those who don’t want to , you don’t have to. You can still make a luscious cheesecake. They are really quite easy. I like easy.

  14. Thanks for this, Gretchen! I made a cheesecake in a springform pan the other day and wondered after reading the directions how the foil was going to keep the water from seeping in. I did it anyway trusting the directions wouldn’t fail me but it did!! Waaaaa!!!!! All that work down the drain!! Well, now thanks to you, I can’t wait to try your method!! Love you!!!!

    1. Yeah, Im not a fan- especially of wasting all that foil! (that the green girl in me) but the cake pan is my fav way and after 20+ years I have never looked back and never had a failed cheesecake!

  15. Ok, so when you decant the cheesecake onto a serving platter as in video, the crust is on top – does it hold up to invert again??

  16. Tried to print your red velvet cheesecake recipe but it only printed the picture not the recipe why I really would like this recipe and don’t want to write it by hand please any help will do. Thank you Gretchen.

  17. Hi Gretchen
    Really appreciate all your advice and tips especially about the springform pans . Don’t you wish there was a way to, stop those pesky ebay ads ( selling springform pans ) from popping up in the middle of
    your video though?

  18. Hey Gretchen,
    I totally understand your disdain with a springform pan, but I found an easy way around it! Baking bags! Like the ones you cook your turkeys and roasts in. Set the pan down in the bag, then pour the water in. No more leaky pan, or soggy crusts!

    1. Im not a big fan a “single taskers” and this is exactly that, and it is designed for use with springform pans (which I dont even own one of those)
      This product is essentially a water bath, same as when I make one out of my cake pan and another larger cake pan.
      I suppose for people who LOVE springform pans this is a great idea, but again- why buy another gadget when you can simply put your springform pan into another cake pan and then another cake pan again?
      LOL seems like alot of trouble to me, when you can just use a cake pan and be done with it. But to each his own! 🙂

  19. Also, if i wanted to get creative.
    Will a cheesecake bake properly in a cake pan. That isnt round or square ?
    like maybe a heart or something.

  20. I make a lot of cheesecakes and I almost always use springform pans. I agree if you’re working with a large volume of cakes that it probably doesn’t make sense, however when I’ve tried the cake pan method my cakes are not straight up and down. I’m not sure why, and I have quality bake ware, but that’s my only argument. For cakes that are assembled with other pieces I end up turning the cake upside down. I also have a few cakes that are soft and I don’t know how well the cake pan method would work, but I’ve also never tried.

  21. Hi, I put my springform in a 10 inch pan instead of using bags or foil for the water bath, saw this idea on americas test kitchen, it works great.

  22. I’ve used both types of pans, never had a leaking problem with spring form and I put foil in the bottom. Some people must put too much water in their water bath, that it comes over the edge of the foil. When I remove the foil, I find minimal water, but my cake isn’t ruined. My cakes come out creamy and delicious. It’s all a matter of preference and experience, like I said I’ve used both. I’m happy with either, as long as I have a pan to cook my cake in, I’m good!

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