2 cups water
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon each ground allspice, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup half-and-half cream
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
Coarsely chopped walnuts, optional
In a large saucepan, bring water and raisins to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside (do not drain).
Meanwhile in a large mixing bowl, cream shortening and sugar. Add egg and raisin. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in walnuts.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups with 1/3 cup batter each. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the cupcakes test done. Cool for 10 minutes; remove from pan to a wire rack.
For frosting, in a large saucepan, combine brown sugar, cream and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat; cook and stir until smooth. Stir in butter and vanilla. Remove from the heat; cool slightly. Stir in confectioners' sugar until smooth. Frost cupcakes; top with nuts if desired. Makes 14 cupcakes.