MasterChef Australia All StarsSun 7:30pm, Mon-Thu 7pm, Ch10
Last night on MasterChef All Stars, we worked out what came first – the chicken or the egg. Seemingly it was Hayden (no sexual stamina). Tonight, however, they’re cooking cakes to be judged by the CWA (Cooks With Attitude)… a nightmare scenario for all concerned.

Early morning in the MasterChef House means two things: breakfast conversation and flattery from Dani. Marion fears it’s the dreaded CWA challenge, and Callum remembers it like it was yesterday – which, for the 17 year old, it likely was. They all sense a disturbance in the force, but can’t quite pinpoint why. These Padawans have much to learn yet.

The aprons are presented and it’s off to the Kitchen for a change. No one’s really sure what to expect except the inevitable Gary & George. The All Stars are welcomed in with a cheery smile from Gary, followed by the cold, reality from George. He speaks of the plush surrounds of MasterChef HQ and how he, Gary and Matt P sit around and plot world domination, each stroking their pussies.

The truth is revealed for the challenge that the All Stars are facing a CWA cake baking challenge. “YAY!” screams Kate, and no one else, ever. Gary offers the formal introductions to the cakes: a boiled fruit cake, a citrus sour cream cake, a passionfruit cake, a madeira cake, a chocolate honey sponge roll, a lumberjack cake, lamingtons, & a neapolitan cake. Marion remembers that her cake was so bad that the judges refused to judge it. Callum remembers the impact of lamingtons on his life – it stunted him emotionally. He can no longer hold a meaningful relationship with a sponge and chocolate sauce.

The cakes are deemed to be so difficult, so daunting, that the judging won’t be by Gary & George – it’ll be by CWA legends Merle Parrish, Allison Mutton & Nelica Gordon. Three with the most exacting standards in the world. In. The. WORLD! Merle is welcomed back with the memory that last year she saw away Billy with her cake-baking skills. Merle the light-fingered one is also the only guest to have ‘acquired’ her own immunity pin. Make of that what you will.

Merle’s been baking since she was seven and boy is that cake burned. She’s also been judging cakes for 35-40 years. Nelica and Allison remind the All Stars of the exacting standards by which they’ll be judged. “I call it naked cooking,” says Nelica, “Because you can’t hide that crack in your arse when you’re not wearing pants.”

The judging will be to the exacting CWA standards. No correspondence will be entered into, and all crybabies can go out the back and sort themselves out. Sorting out who picks what will be by a little game called “Whisky au go go” (at least that’s what I’d call it) – the All Stars will pick a whisk from a jar, and whatever cake is listed on the whisk is what they’ll make. The tines fall like this:

Poh – Passionfruit cake
Chris – Citrus sour cream cake
Justine – Lumberjack cake
Julie – Neapolitan cake (“I want any cake except the rolly one.”)
Marion – “I don’t want the rolly one… oh, I got the rolly one…” Chocolate honey sponge roll
Callum – Boiled fruit cake
Dani – Maderia cake
Kate – Lamingtons

There was much gnashing of teeth with the selections, but that’s the way the whiskas fall. Each All Star is presented with all the ingredient they’ll need and the recipes on their respective benches, and they get 100 minutes to bake, prepare and ice (where appropriate) their cake. Gary & George have $5,000 for the cake considered Best in Show.

The cooking frenzy begins, and Marion reminds us that the great thing about MasterChef All Stars is seeing Superman cook against Spiderman. Merle starts skulking around the kitchen, eyeing off the progress of the All Stars and generally causing heart palpitations as she approaches a bench. George tries to tell us that baking a cake is the ultimate molecular gastreonomy – which MasterChef fans know he hates, ergo George hates the CWA.

If the All Stars follow the recipes to the letter, they should be fine.

Kate loves a good lamington. Callum doesn’t know what to do with the boiled fruit cake except be like Merle on six cups of coffee. Gary & Merle pop by to address all the rules that Callum will be judged by – Merle offers if Callum doesn’t follow the rules, he’s out. Not just from MasterChef, but life. Nobody messes with the CWA… especially some punk kid from Adelaide.

Marion’s not confident she’ll get her cake from hell completed. She’s never even made a perfect cake before. There’s so much she’s yet to achieve. Poh’s stoked she got the passionfruit cake because she loves passionfruit, and who doesn’t like cake?! Allison brings her back to earth by reminding her that this cake is prone to rising and cracking – and that’s not good enough. But her cake lining is perfect. Because that’ll make all the difference if you leave out the egg whites.

Nelica’s a hard-nosed woman – she reminds Julie that near enough isn’t good enough with her neapolitan cake. The pink and white layers must be clearly defined, and there must be some jam showing (said the Priest to the Nun). Julie’s never made a cake like this before, especially under pressure, and then Gary makes fun of her stress-induced Parkinson’s.

Callum’s preparing his tin as Gary pops by with Merle to shatter his dreams before he’s even poured the mix in the tin. The mix passes, but the tin lining doesn’t pass muster – not that Callum cares. George has lamingtons on the brain at the one hour to go mark, and Julie pops her cake in the oven.

At this point, Poh realises she’s left her egg whites out of her cake. FANCY THAT. So she pours the mixture back in a bowl so she can add the egg whites, but it means she’ll have to re-line the tin and she may run out of cooking time. OH IF ONLY POH DIDN’T ALWAYS DO STUFF LIKE THIS…

The first chocolate honey roll cake is out of the oven for Marion, but there’s a problem – it’s sticking to her tea towel. “Did you spray the cake Marion?” asks Nelica. Clearly she didn’t you country bint, just leave her in her pain. Before she leaves she does give Marion a hint as to how to roll out the next cake when it’s ready – the beast does have a heart.

Gary wonders if Callum’s put too much mixture in his tin: “Will it cook?”. “It should,” says Merle the ever realistic, but she cooks her cake for one hour and 20 minutes and the most time Callum’s cake will have in the oven is an hour. “Mmm… what a pickle,” says Callum.

The cakes are all in the oven and Merle has retired to her knitting chair to wait, as one does when one has cooked a bazillion cakes in your career. The All Stars are taking turns crowding around each other’s ovens, trying to see who’s is progressing best or what incident may befall someone else’s cake. Gary & George discuss war stories and laugh heartily at the folly of the amateur bakers in front of them.

With 30 minutes to go some cakes are starting to come out. Kate puts her sponge in the oven to cool quickly, and because Merle said so. Julie’s cake is out and she’s confident it’s cooked well, as is Allison and her cleavage. Poh’s starting to panic and is fiddling with the dial, but Merle’s on hand to reassure her that it may feel undercooked due to overbeating or simply forgetting to add the egg whites and adding them in later won’t help.

Marion’s scalped her second chocolate sponge roll entirely, “but at least it’s cooked, right?” she says to Nelica, hopefully. Kate’s furiously turning her cake into 4cm squares and benefiting greatly from the wisdom of the Great Merle. Merle’s also got time to tell Julie & Poh how to ice their cakes… not that they manage to put her pearls into practice.

One minute ticks by… and then it’s over. All the cakes are plated and ready for judgement. It’s gonna be a blood bath. In his CWA challenge Callum felt he disappointed 100 CWA ladies, and he thinks he’s gonna disappoint three more today. Like so many of his lovers before them.

Chris is entirely intimidated by the “cake mafia” and he’s not looking forward to presenting his delicate little cake to them. Kate’s first with her 4cm square lamingtons, and she acknowledges that Merle’s tips helped her get through. Merle thinks they look pretty good, but that’s nowhere near enough. Merle gets out her tape measure and determines the lammies are exactly the right size. The ladies, judges and Callum (who’s just popped in for a sneaky one) all taste, and Allison tells her she hates making lamingtons but loves judging them, just like she loves judging everyone in her life on a daily basis.

Marion’s next with her nightmare on honey roll street. “Wow!” says George, but everyone can tell they’re missing their top skin. Nelica measures the length of the rolls and they all pass, and after cutting it in half notes that it has the pre-requisite roll and a half – and it tastes good too.

Chris presents with great pride his citrus sour cream cake. Merle congratulates him on the colour of the top and sides of the cake being very similar. “How’s my bottom?” asks a cheeky Chris. “How about you turn around and show me, big boy,” retorts a feisty Merle. The bottom of the cake looks OK, but the cameraman can’t help but focus on Chris’s arse. It tastes good and that’s all that’d matter to me.

The lumberjack cake of Justine has “a lovely & golden top and that’s the way it’s meant to be,” says Merle. That woman knows everything. Dani’s madeira cake has nowhere to hide which is why it is undercooked according to Her Merleness – “It needed five more minutes.” It’s exactly why JT & Madonna never made a madeira cake, because they only had 4 minutes to save the world.

Poh’s accidental passionfruit cake looks to have survived despite her inadequacies. No icing on the sides is key. Allison cuts across the middle of the cake to ensure that the cake is completely cooked and that no files have been secreted in the cake for when the cake is delivered to the local prison.

All the worry about Poh’s cake not being completely cooked is for naught – the ladies all crow as to how nice it looks and smell. Tastes good too. The old misdirection strikes again.

Callum presents his half-baked boiled fruit cake. All jokes aside Callum is happier than last time he presented a cake to Allison, but he thinks it’s undercooked. Merle immediately confirms it without even having to cut it, but cuts it nonetheless to reveal a molten centre. “That’s not even close to cooked, is it?” says Callum. Well, duh.

Julie presents her perfectly iced neapolitan cake for judgement and destruction. She’s pleased though she still has a lot of hopes and dreams for the cake. What will the cake be when it grows up? How many patty cakes will it have? Once it’s measured and given it’s medical, the cake is sacrificed to the CWA gods, because they must be appeased.

GREAT SUCCESS! Julie’s cake has two distinct layers and the jam bombs are dropping the phat beats. The judges like this cake. Now away with you, Goodwin!

Gary & George, along with the judging ladies, return to announce the winner. Blah blah blah recap from Gary. Merle congratulates all those involved who cooked these cakes for the first time. The top 3 cakes, in no specific order, belong to: Poh (passionfruit), Julie (neapolitan) & Kate (lamingtons). After more blah blah blah recapping AND another appearance of the fireball, the order is…

3. Kate
2. Poh
1. Julie

Congratulations Julie – best in show for the MasterChef CWA cake bake-off! ALL THE DEMONS HAVE BEEN EXORCISED!!!

The judges note that Julie’s cake ticked all the boxes – the layers were perfectly set and the icing was spot on. $5,000 for her chosen charity, bringing her total to $15,000 over the series so far. The CWA ladies are excused and sent on their way. But that’s not all…

On Sunday, it’s an extra special mystery box challenge as they get to burn it as a part of a BBQ challenge – with two more eliminated! Sacre burnt!