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Sunday, December 10, 2023
Recipes from Your NeighborsRecipes from Your Neighbors: Cherri's 30-Minute Chocolate Sheet Cake

Recipes from Your Neighbors: Cherri’s 30-Minute Chocolate Sheet Cake

It was back in the eighties when Cherride Poehlman, who went by the name of Cherri, began playing the organ at St. Elizabeth Church in Milpitas. 

Her daughter, Vivian Hsieh, recalls that their home was always open to anyone in the community. She describes her mom as someone who “would feed anyone who walked through the door, whether they thought they were hungry or not.” 

Cherri was active at the Senior Center, often attending several activities a week. 

She passed away in 2010; and through her work at the Church and Senior Center, touched many lives. 

Having also been a great cook and baker, Cherri left behind an assortment of delicious recipes. To this day, her daughter Vivian keeps them alive. 

Below is a recipe for Cherri’s 30-Minute Chocolate Sheet Cake. Enjoy!


Cherri’s 30-Minute Chocolate Sheet Cake 

Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 25 minutes
Total time 35 minutes



  • 1 cup Margarine or Butter
  • 1 cup Water
  • 6 tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Medium Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream


  • 1/2 cup Margarine or Butter
  • 1/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa
  • 1/3 cup Milk
  • 1lb Powdered Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla


  • 1 cup Walnuts (Chopped fine – optional)
  • Sprinkles (optional)


Step 1
Put margarine in a large saucepan with cocoa and 1 cup water. Bring to boil, stirring. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar.
Step 2
In a small bowl (or just use a 2 cup measuring cup) measure the flour and add the salt and baking soda. Whisk it together to remove the baking soda clumps.
Step 3
Add flour mixture to batter and beat until smooth using a wooden spoon.
Step 4
With a spoon beat in the eggs, vanilla, and sour cream.
Step 5
Spray a 9×13 baking dish with Pam and pour batter into pan. Bake in at 350 degrees for about 20-24 minutes, or until the cake starts pulling from the sides and a toothpick.
Step 6
While the cake is baking, make the frosting (recipe below). When you are done with the frosting, you have about 10 minutes until the cake is done. Sit down and have a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine).
Step 7
Remove the cake from the oven and while it’s still warm (leave it in the pan), spread the warm frosting on the cake and sprinkle with sprinkles and/or nuts, if desired.
Step 8
Bring the margarine, cocoa and 6 Tbl milk to a boil in a large saucepan. Remove from heat, and with spoon, beat in the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, using a whisk if desired (but my mom always just used a spoon and we had lumps, but good lumps!). Depending on how you like the frosting, you can add or reduce the powdered sugar for a thicker or thinner icing.

And if you’d like to see more of Cherri’s recipes, you can go to Vivian’s website: 







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