This was a recipe popular during WWII when rationing made sugar and other ingredients hard to come by.
Best of all it is great with or without frosting.
It is even good toasted with butter!
In a saucepan mix the following:
1/3 cup shortening (housewives used a lot of lard in those times.)
2 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
1/2 tsp of cloves
1 1/4 cups of water
1 cup of brown sugar
2 cups of raisins (Optional if you don't like them)
Boil these together for about 3 minutes then cool.
Now add 1 tsp of baking soda that you have dissolved in 2 tsp of water.
Now you can add 1 cup of chopped walnuts of pecans if you like.
Mix 1 tsp of dry baking soda into 2 cups of sifted flour.
Mix with the wet ingredients and pour into a greased and floured 8 inch square pan and bake for 50 minutes at 325F.
It is done when a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
To fancy it up a bit, place a doily over the cooled cake and sift confectioners(powdered) sugar over the top to form a pretty pattern!