Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Lightly grease one 20x30cm cake tin.
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 bicarb 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 minutes to 2 hours, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool. Store for at least a week before cutting. This cake will remain moist for months.