The pan is made with a removable base and a buckle-joined vertical surface, or rim. Buckle the side with the base in place, and you're ready to bake. Unbuckle when done, the rim springs open, and removal of really moist cakes is a breeze.
The traditional springform pan is made of tinned steel. The bottom is waffle shaped to give it strength (since cheesecake and torten are relatively heavy), and fits in a groove at the bottom of the rim. Relatively inexpensive, the tin coating covers the steel and helps prevent rust. Dry thoroughly after washing; as a matter of fact, put it back in the oven to remove all moisture.
Aluminum springform pans are very popular restaurant wares. They don't need as much care, since they don't rust, and can be put in the dishwasher. The rim is curved inward at the bottom, to keep the base in place. Because they do not have a lip that they lock into, they are less apt to become damaged over time.
Many prefer stainless steel, for its purity. Other prefer non stick, for greater ease in removing cakes.
- If you don't put the pan in a water bath, when in the oven, line the outside of the pan with aluminum foil, to help keep the batter from leaking out.
- All springform pans leak a bit, especially if you're using a very light batter. And the more intricate the design of the springform pan, the more likely it will leak. It's normal, so take the abovementioned precautions and line the outside bottom of your pan.
- To reuse the pan before the cake is all eaten, start by lining the inside base plate with parchment paper, so that you can slide the cake off the metal plate. Or replace the metal base with a parchment-lined piece of cardboard of the same size, and you can give away the cake and keep the base.
- Do not store acidic foods in tinned, aluminum or stainless springform pans for any length of time. It's ok to store in enameled and non-stick ones.
- Store springform pans where no one can reach them, to prevent them from accidental bending (which might cause leakage).