Some people may shy away from recipes using a water bath or a bain marie because it sounds like an unnecessary hassle. I’ve been there.
A water bath is simply placing your baking in a large pan of hot water as it enters the oven.
Two perks of adding this simple step:
1. The steam from the hot water bath adds moisture to the oven. This is important for baking treats like cheesecake which tends to crack when the top is dried out and splits before the insides are done.
2. It gives a more even and slower heat source than the direct heat of your oven. The water distributes heat around the cake pan, protecting delicate foods by maintaining an even low-moisture heat.
This method leads to a beautiful smooth top for sponges. It prevents the cake from rapidly expanding which leads to the disappointing cracking of cake tops.
It’s recommended to fill the water bath up to halfway or two thirds of the cake pan, leaving enough room between the cake tin and the water bath pan for hot water to circulate.
While there are options to use aluminium foil to protect springform pans, I highly suggest using a normal cake pan for sponge cakes. I’ve had too many sad experiences of soggy cakes from leakage.
This is what happened when I got lazy and used a recipe that as was meant to utilise a water bath..
Try the cottony soft sponge, matcha cake or this chocolate sponge cake recipe which all yields a beautiful light and moist texture. I promise you once you try the water bath method, it’s not as daunting as it seems!