Indigenous Chopped Challenge : Pinto Pumpkin Cake

This year, I decided to try using traditional ingredients in new ways. I created this Pumpkin Pinto Cake recipe for the bean category in the Indigenous Chopped Challenge. As an aspiring Indigenous Chef and founder of my catering business; Makwa Niwiisin, the purpose of what I do is to bring our traditional ingredients to an all new light. I am currently focusing on “sweet treats” because as Anishinaabe we enjoy sweet things quite a bit.

To roast my ground pinto beans, I used a cast iron pan on the grill to fire. This gave them a hint of roasty flavor. This way the flour wasn’t a super strong bean flavor, but more of a nutty one. You can also roast them in a pan on the stove stirring constantly until almost hot. 

Squash is also traditional to us here in the Great Lakes Region, including pumpkin. I used dehydrated and ground pumpkin (from the kind you carve). I cut the pumpkin into large chopped pieces and dehydrated for a day and a half until hard. I used a flour grinder, but small slices in a coffee grinder will work too. 
Onto the good stuff, the recipe.

Pinto Pumpkin Cake

1 C Pinto Flour
1 C Pumpkin Flour
3 Eggs (For better flavor, try 2 duck eggs) Separated 
1 C Fresh Cranberries
1  C Maple Syrup (pure, not the corn syrup type)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Roast pinto bean flour over flame (or on stovetop) until hot. Then, mix flours together. Bring maple syrup and cranberries to foam over high heat. Remove and cool in freezer for 5 minutes. Whip egg whites to stiff peaks. Mix egg yolk, cranberry/maple syrup mix into the flours. Gently fold in egg whites, it will be thick. Place in desired pans and bake for 15-25 minutes or until tops are stiff. For added flare, brush maple syrup on the top and garnish with maple sugar

Vicki Wells is founder of Makwa Niwiisin, an Indigenous catering company in the works and online Indigenous foods educator. She is an alumni of The Great Lakes Culinary Institute and can be reached through her website

Additional Reading

Thanksgiving – Indigenous Style
Finding Strength in Seeds