Sift together flour, baking soda, sugar, and cocoa powder. Place into mixing bowl.
Put butter, oil, and water into a pot and melt over medium heat.
When butter has melted, pour into dry ingredients and mix on low speed until incorporated.
Then mix on medium speed while adding eggs, 1 at a time, and then sour cream. Continue to mix only until incorporated. Pour batter into greased and papered sheet pan (8 inch by 12 inch). Bake in a preheated 375-degree F oven until firm to touch and releases from sides of the pan. Cool. Then invert onto back of another pan or onto a pastry or cutting board.
Take a round cutter, 1/2-inch-in-diameter larger than the base of the pear. Cut out cake circles. (Save rest of cake as snacks, cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar.)
Place cream in pan, place over medium high heat. Bring just to a boil. Remove immediately from stove. Pour in chopped chocolate. Stir until all chocolate pieces are melted. Cool slightly. Place cake circles on cooling rack placed on top of a pan (to catch drippings). Pour glaze over cakes, being careful to fully cover top and sides.
Place in refrigerator to harden. Once set, take spatula and carefully remove circles. Place on papered sheet pan. Roll out marzipan and cut it into a 3/4-inch wide strip. Cut a decorative design on 1 side (like waves or triangles). Wrap the strip, straight side on the bottom around the base of each glazed cake circle.
Place cake circle in center of dessert plate. Pour reduced cool sauce around cake enough to coat plate nicely. Place Dipped Poached Pear in center on top of cake. If desired, take edible gold leaf and place in increments around cake on sauce.
Dipped Poached Pears:
Mix together puree, liqueur, and sugar. Pour into saucepan. Set aside.
Peel pears, core out from bottom of pear using melon baller. Careful not to break or split the sides of the pear. Slice bottom of pear, to enable pear to stand straight up. Place pears standing up in puree mixture. Bring to boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover with aluminum foil, poach until tender, approximately 8 to 10 minutes, depending on ripeness of pears.
Remove pears from liquid and place on cooling rack. Remove poaching liquid from stove and cool.
Once liquid is cold, place pears back into liquid and store, covered in refrigerator over night.
Remove pears from liquid (reserve liquid for later use). Place on cooling rack to drain.
Melt chocolate in bowl over a pan of simmering water. Once pears have drained, pat dry, and dip into the melted chocolate, approximately 1-inch up base of pear. Place on waxed paper to set chocolate.
Place cooking liquid back into a saucepan, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Continue to simmer, reducing liquid to sauce consistency. Remove from stove and cool.
This recipe was provided by a chef, restaurant or culinary professional. It has not been tested for home use.
Recipe courtesy of Michele Mitchel, Hotel duPont, Wilmington, DE