A Springform Pan Is Essential for Making Cheesecake, Mousse Cake, and Quiche—Here's How to Use One
If you've ever read a recipe that called for a springform pan and you're not quite sure what it is, this article is for you. And even if you are familiar with springform pans, but want to enhance your culinary skills and learn some new strategies for using them, you're in the right place, too. First and foremost, what is a springform pan? As Jessica Randhawa, blogger at The Forked Spoon, describes it, a springform pan is a piece of bakeware with sides that can be easily removed from the base. "Commonly used for baking cheesecakes, quiches, mousses, cakes, and even deep-dish pizzas, the removable sides of a springform pan allow the baked goods to be removed from the pan without inverting it or lifting it out like a basic bakeware pan," she explains.
Josephine Caminos Oría, president and founder of La Dorita Cooks and author of Sobremesa: A Memoir of Food and Love in 13 Courses ($21.43, amazon.com), adds that "a springform pan is to home cooks what a bicycle with training wheels is to a toddler or rail bumpers are to a novice bowler as its latched sides cause the bottom and side of the pan to separate, allowing the home cook to 'cheat' when unmolding a cake or ice box pie."
Whether you view your springform pan as your training wheels or the unsung bakeware hero of your kitchen, there are several tips to keep in mind when using a springform pan. Below, Randhawa and Oría weigh in with their best advice.
What to Look for When Buying a Springform Pan
"When shopping for a springform pan, look for a tight, strong seal between the side of and bottom of the pan, to ensure a leak-proof finish. I also like a heavier weighted pan," says Oría. As you consider the different springform pans on the market, Randhawa emphasizes buying one that is very well-reviewed and rated. "Buying a springform pan without researching reviews and ratings can lead to products that are not engineered and manufactured properly, leading to a leaky mess in the kitchen and oven," she says.
When to Use a Springform Pan
Once you start using your springform pan regularly, you may wonder how you did without it. "Springform pans are really versatile. They're great for baking cakes, ice box pies, and tarts. I use them to make pasta casseroles as well," says Oría. Don't go overboard, though, and start using a springform pan for everything—at first, stick to using them when you see it noted in the recipe instructions to yield optimal results: "Springform pans should always be used if the recipe calls for it," reiterates Randhawa. "In general, springform pans are used for more delicate baking goods which could be damaged when removed from a traditional baking pan."
When Not to Use a Springform Pan
You shouldn't use a springform pan, says Oría, when you're baking a cheesecake or custard such as flan in a water bath. "The batter will inevitably leak, even when the pan is wrapped in aluminum foil, ruining your prized efforts. This could happen with a thin cake batter as well," she explains.
Tips for Using a Springform Pan
"To prevent your pan from leaking, you can wrap the outer bottom edge of the pan with heavy duty aluminum foil," says Oría. Another important piece of advice? Always grease the pan before use. "When using a springform pan for baking, always make sure you grease the pan with a non-stick vegetable spray or butter, even if it is non-stick," offers Randhawa. "The last thing you want is to go through all the baking steps, only to damage your recipe when removing it from the spring pan."
In general, hand-washing your springform pan is your best bet. "Most springform pans require hand washing. If there is any baked, stuck-on stuff on the spring pan, let it soak overnight in a soapy solution for a more effortless cleaning experience the next day," says Randhawa. "If your springform pan is non-stick, be sure to use a soft non-stick safe sponge."