"This cake often appeared on the Sunday dinner table during the depression and the war years. It's been in my family for three generations. During the olden days, many families could not afford the luxury of the traditional fruitcakes, so this recipe became the popular Christmas fruitcake of the poor."
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease one 9 x 13 inch pan.
Place cold water, brown sugar, raisins, lard, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a large saucepan. Bring this combination to a boil. Let simmer for a full 6 minutes, then allow mixture to cool to lukewarm. Set aside.
In small mixing bowl, combine flour and soda. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the cooled mixture. Add vanilla, and blend into batter. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 90 to 120 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool. Store for at least a week before cutting. This cake will remain moist for months.