This one intrigues me.
I know something about Lydia Pinkham.
Lydia Pinkham lived in Massachusetts from 1819-1883. She was an herbalist, but more than that, she sold her products commercially, which was practically unheard of at that time. You can still buy her “herbal compound” today. She marketed her formula as a woman’s tonic to relieve menstrual discomfort and menopausal symptoms. She also published a few books, one of which was titled Favorite Recipes – Save Time and Money. Perhaps this is the source for this recipe. Maida does not say anything about the woman or the recipe.
While this chocolate cake resembles a rich devil’s food with lots of silky icing and was moist and chocolatey, I wonder how Maida chose to add it to her cookbook. I’m sure there are plenty of options and I also wonder why she kept Lydia’s name attached to it. I have all kinds of questions that will never be answered.