The color and the weight of metal for baking pans both make a difference in how cheesecakes cook, although the difference is small. That said, even a slight difference can minimize the chance of an undercooked or overcooked cheesecake, so it makes sense to choose a pan with the right color and heft. Choose either a springform pan, with removable sides that make it easy for you to remove the cheesecake, or a regular cake pan.
The Ideal Pan
The actual type of metal for a springform pan matters less than its weight and color. A 9-to 10-inch pan varies in metals from anodized aluminum to steel-plated tin, and can weigh from 1 to 4 pounds. Instead of choosing by price or type of metal, choose a pan that is the heaviest you can find in a light gray shade of non-shiny metal.
Overly Light or Dark Pans
Pans made with dark metal produce cheesecakes that are overly browned or overcooked, while pans that are overly light result in undercooked, under-browned or unevenly browned cheesecakes. Dark pans absorb more infrared radiation in the oven and are hotter than lighter colored pans, which reflect light rather than absorbing it. If you do have a dark-colored pan, decrease the baking time on the cheesecake by about 10 minutes.
Manufacturers produce both nonstick cake pans and spring form pans. They both come in either dark or light colors and your best choice is one in a medium shade of gray. Even though nonstick cake pans help with removing a cheesecake from the pan, they still are not as fool-proof as springform pans. But you can count on them to ensure that no batter leaks out in the oven, as sometimes happens with a springform pan.
Problems With Weight
Choose a heavy pan for cooking cheesecake over a lightweight pan. A lightweight pan tends to warp in the oven and cause uneven cooking when it loses contact with the oven rack. Flimsy pans also result in under-cooking because they have less mass and absorb less heat than more sturdy pans. On the other hand, heavyweight pans cook cheesecakes more evenly and actually bake up to 20 percent faster than thin pans, according to "Bon Appetit" magazine.
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