This post contains affiliate links.
Learning how to bake a successful cake is any baker’s initial goal. This is an important goal to have since there are so many ways to bake a cake and a baker has to learn them all! In my opinion, one of the toughest ways to bake a cake is in a water bath. Learning the do’s and dont’s of baking a cake in a water bath can help any baker achieve their goal faster.
Wrap the bottom of the cake pan with aluminum foil to insulate the cake pan. Place the cake pan in the middle of a large baking pan. Pour hot water into the baking pan until reaching 1 inch in height around the cake pan. Bake the cake for about 40 minutes on the middle rack of the oven.
When I learned how to successfully bake a cake in a water bath, I felt unstoppable in my kitchen! When looking into it a little more, I learned that there was so much more to know about baking in a water bath. Learning all about the water bath gave me the confidence that I needed to take on more challenging ventures in my baking journey.
How To Bake A Cake In A Water Bath
How to bake a cake in a water bath:
- Tightly wrap the bottom of the cake pan with aluminum foil
- Pour the cake batter into the cake pan
- Place the cake pan in the middle of a large baking pan
- Heat up water in a kettle to make it hot
- Pour about 1 inch of hot water into the baking pan
- Put the large baking pan on the middle rack of the oven
- Bake the cake for 40 minutes or until the top looks firm
- After water bath, cool the cake for 15 minutes on a wire rack
- Carefully remove the cake from the water bath
- Cool the cake for an additional hour at room temperature
To bake in a water bath, you’ll first need to choose the right pans to do the job. You need to choose a long baking sheet with at least 1-inch raised edges. This baking sheet will be where you’ll place the hot water. However, before you place the water, you need to choose the right cake pan.
You’ll have to choose the right cake pan for you depending on what you’re baking. If you’re trying to bake a regular cake or a sponge cake, I would suggest you use an ordinary cake pan for it. However, if you’re trying to make to bake a cheesecake, you’ll need to use a springform pan.
Either way, make sure that your cake pan or springform pan is higher than the baking pan you’re using to pour the water. Thankfully, I found the Perfect Baking Pan for the job! This baking pan is large and deep enough to fit most cake pan sizes to create an amazing Water Bath baking experience. Check out this baking pan on Amazon!
Whatever cake pan you choose, make sure that the diameter of your cake pan fits into the large baking sheet that you prepared before.
After you choose the right cake pan for you, you’ll need to cut 2 large sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil and wrap the bottom of the cake pan with it. Make sure to wrap the foil from below the pan and going up the edges of the pan.
Wrapping the bottom of your cake pan with aluminum foil is very important for insulation purposes. Cakes made in a water bath require the heat to be maintained within the baking pan to allow it to bake all the way through.
Baking a cake in a water bath can have some issues arising from time to time. Even if you’re using a regular cake pan, water can still get in through the holes in the bottom of your cake pan and ruin the integrity of your cake.
This makes it another reason why you should wrap the bottom of your cake pan with aluminum foil. Once wrapped thoroughly, the foil can prevent the water from getting into your cake pan and ruining your cake.
After making sure that the aluminum foil is nice and tight, pour your cake batter into the cake pan. Place the cake pan into the larger baking pan and put it on the middle rack of your oven.
How do you use a water bath for baking? To use a water bath for baking, boil water in a kettle. Use a tea kettle with a long spout to pour the hot water into a large baking pan. The long spout will prevent the water from splashing onto the cake batter.
Slowly start pouring the hot water from your tea kettle into the large baking pan. Pour the water until about half of the cake pan’s height. Just make sure to add enough water since the water will evaporate in the oven over time.
Make Sure The Water Is Not Going Into The Foil!
After this, all you’ll need to do is bake your cake in the water bath according to the recipe instructions.
*Side Note: I recently wrote an article about The Best Ways To Fix & Prevent a Dense Cake. This article talks about how to fix a failed dense cake and prevent it from occurring. You can check out this article here!
What does a water bath do for cakes?
As a general rule, a water bath helps a delicate cake to be baked at an even rate on all sides. A water bath prevents the formation of breaks and cracks on the surface of the cake. This is a common baking method used for baking cakes such as cheesecakes and sponge cakes.
The water bath technique is a very versatile technique for you to have in the kitchen. When baking your delicious creations, it can be used for many purposes such as:
- Warming up your baked goods when they are cold
- Melting chocolate to use as a design for your cakes
- Baking cakes such as cheesecakes and sponge cakes
In this instance, I want to speak about baking a cake using a water bath. The goal of this water bath is to surround your delicate cake batter with shallow warm water to protect it by maintaining even heat throughout the circumference of the cake.
Maintaining even heat around your cake batter can help bake your cake equally on all sides at once. It can also prevent hard crust formation on the cake surface which usually leads to breaks and cracks throughout the cake.
*Side Note: You might also want to know How To Bake A Cheesecake Without A Springform Pan. I recently wrote an article that talks about What Can You Use To Bake Cheesecake If You Don’t Have A Springform Pan. You can check out this article here!
Should you put water in the oven when baking a cake?
As a general rule, putting water in the oven in the form of a water bath will provide the necessary moisture when baking a cake. This moisture prevents the cake from being dry and crumbly. Water can also help distribute heat evenly throughout the baking process.
A water bath will also prevent your cakes from browning easily compared to the traditional way of baking a cake. Even though baking a cake in a water bath is a longer process, I like to bake as many of my cakes in a water bath as possible.
A water bath gives me the confidence I need to make sure that my cakes turn out perfectly baked.
If you’re planning on baking with multiple cake pans in the same water bath, make sure to leave at least 1 inch in between each cake pan so that the hot water can move freely around each pan.
Now I know you could be asking yourself: What kind of cakes can I bake in a water bath? Well, I try to stick with the main two types of cakes. A sponge cake and a cheesecake (my favorite).
*By the way, if you are interested in knowing how to get Stuck Parchment Off of Your Cake and how to Prevent It, I recently wrote an article about Removing Stuck Parchment Paper, which you can find here!
Baking a Sponge Cake in a Water Bath
Can I bake a sponge cake in a water bath?
A water bath is important for a delicate cake like a sponge cake since it prevents the cake from rapidly expanding from too much heat. This helps the sponge cake come out of the oven with a smooth and even surface all around.
Baking a sponge cake in a water bath has more benefits than baking it without a water bath. Since a sponge cake is light and airy, the moisture provided from the evaporated water will help create the spongy texture that we all love!
When I usually bake a sponge cake, the edges usually come out too hard. However, since I started baking my sponge cakes in water baths, the edges of the cake turn out to be light and smooth like the rest of the cake.
*Side Note: If you ever wanted to know The Real Difference Between A Sponge Cake and A Butter Cake. I wrote an article about it that you can find here!
Baking a Cheesecake in a Water Bath
Can I bake a cheesecake in a water bath?
A water bath is important for a delicate cake-like cheesecake since the evaporating moisture of the water makes sure to prevent the cake from drying in the oven.
The usual supplies needed to bake a delicious cheesecake are a water bath kit and a mandatory nonstick springform pan.
If you’re looking to bake different-sized cheesecakes, I found the perfect 3 piece set of Springform Pans that I recently got for myself! This 3-piece set comes with 4, 7, and 9-inch Nonstick Springform Pans, which you can check out on Amazon!
A cheesecake is one of the most delicate cakes that I’ve ever worked with hence why it is my favorite. The most important thing that I learned throughout the years of baking a cheesecake is to always protect your cheesecake!
I handle every one of my cheesecakes as if it’s a newborn baby. A water bath is what helps the cheesecake reach its full potential.
*By the way, one of the most important things to know after baking an amazing-looking cheesecake is How To Properly Cut it to Prevent it From Falling Apart. I wrote an article talking about The Right Way To Cut A Cheesecake, which you can find here!