Minot’s queen of cakes now working from home
There is a longtime cake decorator in Minot whose name is so synonymous with fancy cakes that it was the key ingredient for the name of her new business.
Where did you get your cake? “Oh, Nyla.” As in, “Of course, it is a creation of Nyla Stromberg.”
Nyla Stromberg has been in the business for decades, making wedding cakes today for brides whose mothers also had their wedding cakes created by Stromberg.
But these days – for the past couple months – those cakes by Nyla have been coming out of her own kitchen at home. After 33 years of working for Marketplace Foods and its predecessors, Stromberg opened Oh, Nyla Cake Designs on Jan. 3.
“I just needed a change – 33 years,” Stromberg explained while frosting yet another cake by Nyla.
How is she faring; have people found her? Consider this:
A door in her kitchen leading to the garage that less than three months ago had pictures of kids and grandkids taped to it is now plastered with cake orders. For birthdays, just because days – graduation days (already).
And then there is the social media measure of Oh, Nyla’s early success.
Within 24 hours of posting on Facebook that she’d gone into business for herself, Stromberg had 600-plus follows. Within 48 hours she was up to 1,000-plus.
And people are still hugging her in stores when she is about town, giving Stromberg their best wishes and another vote of confidence. Still, Stromberg has been surprised at the interest generated since striking out on her own.
“I’m surprised,” she gushed. “My family, our children and all of our friends – they’re not surprised by any means. I have a huge following,” Stromberg said while about to show off her new convection oven.
“I just love it,” she said of the oven. “I had eight cakes in there (at once) yesterday.”
While Stromberg for years had a huge commercial kitchen and staff whom she trained herself at her disposal, Stromberg is very content to be working at home now. That is, after all, where the magic began.
Her first cake was made while taking an Adult Education class offered by Minot Public Schools 38 years ago. She soon got into the cake decorating business while also working at the former St. Joseph’s Hospital.
She also taught cake decorating at the old Scheel’s store when it was a hardware store located at the corner of Burdick and Broadway.
Then, just by chance, she was lured into taking a job at Albertson’s grocery store, which later became Marketplace Foods.
There she continued to train herself – and her ever-growing staff – and won competition after competition. With little space for trophies these days, Stromberg and her helpful husband, Dan, recently took two big boxes full of those trophies to a trophy shop to be recycled.
Dan Stromberg also helps with the business by doing some of the grocery shopping, making deliveries – and buttercream frosting.
“That is my least favorite job,” Nyla said. “And (he does) dishes, dishes and more dishes.”
While many things have recently changed for Minot’s queen of cakes, some things in regards to making and decorating cakes have not budged.
Yes, she admits to having a secret ingredient that makes her cakes taste as good as repeat customers attest. Asked whether that ingredient is wet or dry, she answered, “It’s wet,” but would reveal no more, guarding a secret of 35 years.
Also unchanged is what drives Stromberg. It’s the pleasure she gets from watching customers pick up their cake orders, whether it be a simple sheet cake or a sculpted cake worthy of a trophy.
“It’s so fun to create and have everyone excited. … Their excitement makes me more excited and my passion is just so strong,” she said. “I should have done this 20 years ago.”