Preheat oven to 325F. Coat insides of cans with cooking spray.
Combine dates and baking soda in a bowl. Pour in boiling and let stand for 5 minutes.
Combine sugar, shortening and eggs in a large bowl. Using a mixer, beat a medium-high speed until creamy. Add date mixture(do not drain) and flour and stir until well blended. Add nuts and raisins, mix well.
Fill cans about 2/3 full with batter. Bake 1 to 1/4 hours, until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Remove bread from cans and place on a wire rack to cool completely.