This recipe is an old-time favorite that was given to me by my mother-in-law. She told me the cake shouldn't be eaten the day it's baked...aging makes it so much better. She once entered this cake in a contest and won first prize!
In a saucepan, combine raisins and water. Cook until plump. Drain and set aside raisins, reserving 10 tablespoons cooking liquid.
In a bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Combine flour, cinnamon, cloves nutmeg and salt; set aside. Combine milk, soda, eggs and reserved cooking liquid. Add dry ingredients alternately with milk mixture to creamed mixture. Stir in cooked raisins. Pour into a greased 13x9-in. baking pan.
Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. Just before serving, sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.