Dakota Handcrafters: Nyla Stromberg

Current Hometown: Minot

How would you describe your specialty handcraft?

After taking a 6-week cake class at Adult Education, I was so inspired to keep learning the art. From frosting cakes, making flowers and to this day I love learning new techniques and using new products. Using gum paste to create animals, people, the list goes on. Fondant is a sugar paste to cover cakes and mold decorations and has become so popular and versatile. People love the look and having a fondant machine allows me to put a very thin layer on the cakes. Modeling Chocolate or Chocolate Draping has allowed me to create very unique decorations that are edible. The most recent specialty is making Edible Lace. It’s so delicate and adds the beauty of edible fabric. It takes time and perseverance to master these techniques. I always think if they can make it so can I, but it doesn’t always turn out as easy as they make it look!

What or who inspired you to become involved in it?

This goes back many years ago for our birthdays Mom would bake Angel Food Cake, put a Barbie in it and frost it with 7 Minute Frosting and decorate it with a few star decorations, and when my younger brother Kurt was one, Mom used soup cans, tuna cans, loaf pans to make trucks for Kurt’s birthday cake. I was 10 and later wanted to do the same for our kids, so Mom was the first one to inspire me to learn this art.

How long have you been doing this type of work?

I started when our daughter had her first birthday 39 years ago. I took a class from Maxine Schwartz She was truly an inspiration to me. Julia Neshem, Caryl Hetland, and Lorraine Grilley were other local cake decorators who encouraged me to learn more! Like many forms of art so much has changed over the years. I have had the opportunity to attend International Cake Conventions. Artists from Cake Boss, to Cake Wars, and other cake competitions on TV have had seminars to learn new skills at these conventions….Kerry Vincent, Nicholas Lodge, Colette Peters, Mike Elder, Mike McCarey, Brownen Weber, Geraldine Randlesome, Roland and Marsha Winbeckler, Verusca Walker from Australia and Frances “The Cake Lady” was incredible at Airbrushing! Steve Stellingworth – the list goes on….

Do you do this for your own pleasure or offer it for sale?

I am doing what I love to do! Our cake shop, Oh, Nyla Cake Designs is a licensed bakery and is my Happy Place! I sell cakes for many events, baptisms, birthdays, weddings, grooms cakes, business events, and just because someone is craving a Nyla Cake! Cakes, cupcakes and cookies are made with my special recipes.

Where can we see your handcraft?

At Oh, Nyla’s Cake Designs, 1800 14th St. SW, Minot, ND (701-852-0215). Also people love to share on Facebook, at bridal shows and newspaper ads.

Is your handcraft available for sale and if so, where?

Most of my orders come from repeat customers and customer referrals. Word of mouth and being in the cake business for so many years, I am known as the Cake Lady! Pinterest has taken cake decorating and parties to a whole new level of custom made cakes, and I love the challenge it brings to me. The variety of reasons to party are endless!

Have you taught others your handcraft and if so would you be willing to teach it to others?

Yes, in years past I did teach for Wilton Industries at the Scheels on Burdick and Broadway in Minot. I have taught seminars at bakery conventions in North Dakota and in Minnesota. My first cookie class with kids was just this past weekend. We had such a great time. Dan helped me for 2 days – lots of dishes, cleaning and getting ready for the next class… I have been asked by many to give classes for adults…It’s something I would enjoy and consider starting from basics, to advanced to specialty.

Tell us about yourself

I grew up in Berthold and attended Minot State College. I am married to Dan Stromberg. Dan helps with baking, cleaning, dishes, grocery shopping and the list goes on. I have competed in many international and Minnesota, North Dakota, cake competitions. I have been judging events as well. I was Cake Department manager at Albertsons/MarketPlace Foods for 33 years. While working at MarketPlace Foods we had an award-winning cake department! Our children have grown and we have 5 grandchildren. We made a licensed commercial bakery, Oh, Nyla’s Cake Designs, at our home.