We’d love to find a springform pan that doesn’t let moisture seep in when you place it in a water bath (our preferred method for baking delicate desserts like cheesecake), but so far a less-than-watertight seal seems unavoidable on pans with removable bottoms. Our solution has always been to wrap the pan with a double layer of aluminum foil and tightly crimp it around the pan’s edge. But foil is not a perfect fix: Steam from the water bath condenses inside the foil, so that the pan still sits in liquid.
Recently, we came up with a better way to address the problem: placing the springform pan inside a slightly larger metal pan or pot—a 10 by 3-inch cake pan or deep-dish pizza pan is ideal—before lowering it into the bath. The slight gap between the pans isn’t wide enough to prevent the water from insulating the springform pan, and there is zero danger of exposing the cheesecake to water, since any moisture that condenses on the sides of the pan rapidly evaporates.
If you bake cheesecakes regularly, this method is more than worth the minimal expense of buying a large metal cake pan.