Reader Ben comments:
I’ve never had luck with a springform pan in a water bath. Even using heavy duty aluminum foil in a couple layers, I still get seepage. I’ve gone back to just baking without the water bath. Any tips? That much cream ain’t cheap, and I’d hate to ruin another cheesecake.
I hear you, my home boy. First I wonder if the liquid in the pan is really coming from the outside. Remember how cheesecakes can weep. Even flourless chocolate cakes can do that if you over-bake them (they’re custards too). Also, you might be putting too much water in your bath. An inch to and inch-and-a-half of hot water is all you really need.
However assuming none of that is the problem, you can make cheesecakes — provided they have no crust — in cake layer pans. A taller cheesecake requires a deeper pan of course, but you can find 3″ cake layer pans at restaurant supply shops. The trick is getting it out once it’s baked. To do that you’ll need to make sure the cheesecake is thoroughly chilled and as firm as it can be without being frozen (freezing is terrible for cheesecakes). Assuming the sides pull away from the pan somewhat, a little heat applied to the bottom of the pan should be all you need to get it to release, say, 15 seconds or so of waving it over a burner (if the sides haven’t pulled away, heat a sharp knife under some hot water and run it around the edges of the pan). Apply a piece of plastic wrap and a cardboard cake round to the top and flip the whole works over. If the cake still doesn’t come out, I’ll employ my kitchen blowtorch to the bottom and the sides, though a washcloth soaked in hot water will also work. That and a little jiggling usually does the trick. Once the cake is out, apply an upside-down plate to the cake and flip everything back over together. Remove the cake round and plastic wrap and you should be good to go.
UPDATE: Several readers have also suggested silicone cake pans, which would also work well.