I don’t know a lot of people who don’t like cheesecake. In fact, I don’t know anyone immune to its siren call. Of course, people do have their preferences, and some of these are not simply mere preferences.
Cheesecake can be a little like pizza—in that it can divide not only families and states, but even countries. As debates about food go, I don’t think there are many that compare to those concerning cheesecake. We can’t even agree on whether or not it should be cooked!
Types of Cheesecake
The first type of cheesecake I will mention is the best—it’s the one I make and I’m not going to tell you how I do it. So, let’s just move on to some others in a brief “world tour.”
The Africans tend to use whipped cream instead of cream cheese and go for the British style base of crushed cookies/biscuits. Amarula liqueur is often added to the mixture.
In Asia, cheesecakes tend to be lighter and have a more sponge-like consistency. They are also considerably less sweet and more likely to be flavored with fruits than alcohol.
America is home to the rich New York style cheesecake, in which heavy cream or sour cream form a creamy, dense cake that rests on a bed of graham crackers.
Europe is as varied in its cheesecake styles as you would imagine, owing to the huge differences in cultures and nationalities. From the light French to the dough-bottomed German, through to the ricotta-based Italian. Belgian cheesecake? There are just too many variations to mention.
One which does stand out, however, comes from Sweden. Served warm with fruit and cream, it is made by adding rennet to milk that is allowed to curdle before going into the oven. To avoid confusion with more traditional cheesecakes, this non-layered curd cake is referred to as Ostkaka.
Ostkaka is also different in that it is one of the very few cheesecakes in which the use of a springform pan isn’t really advised.
Springform pans are two-piece pans that have an interlocking band on the sides and a removable bottom. Anyone who has tried to dig brownies out of a regular pan will immediately recognize the benefit of being able to remove the sides of a pan.
Once the contents have cooled or set, the latch can be opened so that the circumference of the pan increases. The band will then come away and leave the cheesecake sitting on its own little platform for serving.
That’s the idea anyway. I can already hear some of you saying, “Yeah, right! Maybe in some utopian world!” as you remember a particularly traumatic moment where your masterpiece—one you spent hours on—lay in ruin before you.
Well, yes, of course. Like anything else in your kitchen, all springform pans are not created equal, so let’s have a look at a few different types.
Which springform pan should I use?
Nordic Ware makes some great springform pans. The 9” version consistently gets great reviews. This aluminum pan is nonstick, dishwasher safe, and comes in four trendy colors. Additionally, this model features a lip on the bottom of the pan, forming a leak-proof seal, which is hardly surprising giving the style of cheesecake that is popular in Sweden.
One of the better mini sets comes from Wilton. The 2105-2174 Mini Springform set is ideal for making an individual, deep-dish style cheesecake. The smaller size makes for quicker cooking times and adds a little something special to give your cakes a personal flair.
If you are after a well-constructed pan with a great warranty, Kaiser Bakeware LaForme Plus Springform is hard to beat. Its high-grade enamel over heavy-duty steel is some of the best non-stick cookware available, and this model comes with an industry-leading 10-year warranty.
As there are so many different types of cheesecake out there for you to try making, it may be difficult to find one pan that can “do it all.” The above models are some of the best available. Whether you are cooking your cheesecake or chilling it in the fridge, these should do the job very well.
See what is available to you in your area, and may the cheesecake debate continue around the world!