When it comes to kitchen gadgets, I consider myself a bit of a minimalist.
I don’t like pieces of equipment that are single purpose or do the same thing that a knife can do (see: Banana slicer).
You might think that a springform pan falls into this category, but I use mine all of the time and find it to be very important in my kitchen arsenal. It just does things that no other pan can do!
For starters, it lets you make really good cheesecake – like my lemon cheesecake with blueberries. Can you make this cake without a springform pan? I guess so, but it won’t be as good and you’ll have a heck of a time getting it out of a normal pan.
If springform pans are new to you, they’re actually pretty basic. The pans come in two parts: A bottom piece that fits snugly into the round piece. The round edge has a spring in it that allows you to clamp it down and tighten it around the bottom piece.
This means you can bake something in the pan and then unclamp the round edge and easily slide out the bottom piece.
What to Look for When Buying a Springform Pan
When you're buying a springform pan, it’s always important to test out the clamping mechanism. It should clamp really tightly around the bottom piece. Ideally, there will be a little lip in the bottom of the pan that the bottom piece fits into.
Another important feature is to test the give of the bottom piece. Most bottom pieces will flex a little bit which is fine, but you don’t want it to be flimsy or you could break your crust while baking. The Betty Crocker store has a huge variety of springform pans to choose from, with many sizes and styles.
When it comes to what to make with your pan, cheesecake is probably the most common. Tablespoon has a bunch of fantastic cheesecake recipes, and you’ll need a springform pan for all of them!
Probably the most important characteristic of a springform pan is being leak-proof. I normally wrap my pan with foil just to give it an extra layer of waterproofing anyway, but testing it helps you see how the pan performs.
Step by Step: Cheesecake with a Springform Pan
Any time I buy a new springform pan, the first thing I do is set it up in a larger baking pan with nothing in it and pour water around the outside to test it. Hopefully no leaks spring out!
I happen to have a very trustworthy springform pan these days so I don’t even wrap mine in foil, but if you have any doubt – do it.
For most recipes, you’ll want to bake in a crust of some sort in the bottom of your pan. For most cheesecake recipes, a graham cracker crust is pretty standard.
Then you can pour in your cheesecake mixture! Again, I used my lemon cheesecake recipe for this version.
The leak-proof quality is very important for things like cheesecake because it's baked in a water bath. It will sit in this bath for almost three hours, and if there are any leaks at all…your cheesecake will be ruined for sure.
After you bake your cake and cool it, you can slide a butter knife around the edges and unclamp the outer part of the pan, which should slide right off.
For cheesecake, it’s a good idea to let the cake cool for a few hours before eating it.
If cheesecake isn’t your thing, that doesn’t mean you should skip getting a springform pan. There are tons of other things you can use it for – basically, any time you want to bake something and have it come out with clean edges. You can make savory things like this ham and cheese torta or other sweet desserts like this triple chocolate cake.
No matter how you cut it, a springform pan is a great piece of kitchen equipment!
Nick thinks someone should make springform jeans! Be sure to check out his blog, Macheesmo, and follow him on his Tablespoon Profile.