Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease one 13x9 inch cake pan.
Cook raisins and water for 10 minutes over medium heat. Stir in the shortening. Remove from heat and let mixture cool.
Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, ground cloves, ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, and salt. Add flour mixture to the cooled raisin mixture and blend well. Stir in the beaten eggs. Add the chopped nuts (if desired). Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 35 minutes.