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Cheesecake is a very popular dessert in North America and elsewhere. Numerous recipes are available for people to make at home out of easily purchased ingredients. Given the delicate nature of the crust and sides of the cake, however, specialized pans are recommended. The two main different types of cheesecake pans include springform and removable bottom pans. If neither of these types is available, tart pans, cake tins, and even casserole dishes can be used, although they may be more problematic.
Springform cheesecake pans are a very common choice. Made from aluminum, tin, or silicone, these pans are used to produce single cakes and are available in round, square, and oblong forms, as well a variety of sizes. Springform pans, whatever their shape, have spring-locked metal buckles or clasps on one side. These clasps are closed tightly while the cheesecake is being made and undone when it time to remove the cake. The unbuckling of the clasp allows the tin to be removed from around the cake without damaging either the sides or the crust.
The buckling, though it makes the cake easier to remove, can also sometimes act as a leaking point and requires periodic observation. Another area that may be problematic is the cake sticking to the sides or bottom of the pan. Although most cheesecake pans are nonstick, they may also be greased to prevent the sides from sticking. Newer versions of springform pans come with removable bottoms, making it easier to transfer the dish onto a serving plate. The bottom can be used as it is; however, covering it with tinfoil or parchment paper before adding the cake mixture can make extracting the bottom easier.
Removable bottom cheesecake pans are an alternative to springform pans. Like springforms, this type is also made from aluminum, tin, or silicone, but it lacks the side buckle. Instead, the solid outer ring of the pan is lifted up or pulled down once the cheesecake is made, allowing the cake to remain undamaged. This type of pan also comes in round, square, or oblong shapes and is available in large tins that produce single cakes to tins that hold a dozen mini ones.
If neither of these types of cheesecake pans are available, other types can be used. For example, tart pans with removable bottoms and straight sides will work, but as they are more shallow than normal cheesecake pans, both the recipe and the cooking time should be reduced. Metal, Pyrex, or even glass cake pans and casserole dishes can be transformed into cheesecake tins. These must be lined with parchment paper and greased, and even then, it may be very difficult to remove the entire cake from the pan. As an alternative, the cheesecake can be left in the pan, cut as a normal sheet cake, and lifted out piece by piece as desired.
For my money, a springform pan is usually the best choice for cheesecakes. The "buckle" mechanism is the best way to release the sides of the pan from the cheesecake. To me, that's the only way to be sure that the sides will come away without completely tearing up the cheesecake. A cheesecake may be dense and heavy, but they're more fragile than you realize. But the cheesecakes usually do fine with a springform pan because the sides come away easily.
I think it's just easier to use a springform pan. They're reliable and work the same way every time. They're worth the money.
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