Combine 1 1/2 cups water to small sauce pan, add 1 Cup raisins and bring to a boil. Let cool and drain 1 generous cupful of raisin water in measuring cup then drain the reserve water from raisins. Keep the raisins as you will use them later. While water in cup is still warm add soda to it.
Cream shortening while adding sugar gradually, beat in eggs and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients together then add alternating with raisin liquid. Add raisins hand stirring them in. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
To Ice, melt a lump (1/2 cup) of butter then blend 1-1 1/2 Cups of powdered sugar together. While cake is warm, but not hot, spread icing over cake.