lemon cupcakes


2   cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2  teaspoons baking powder
1/4  teaspoon salt
2/3  cup shortening
1   cup sugar
3   eggs
2/3  cup milk
1   tablespoon finely shredded lemon peel
2/3  cup sugar
1/3  cup lemon juice 
Lemon peel curls (optional) 
Fresh lemon balm leaves (optional)


1. Grease and lightly flour twenty to twenty-four 2-1/2-inch muffin cups. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl beat shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1 cup sugar and beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and milk, beating on low to medium speed after each addition just until combined. Stir in the 1 tablespoon lemon peel. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. (Fill any empty, greased muffin cups with water to avoid damaging pan.)
3. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove from pans. Place cupcakes upside-down on wire racks set over waxed paper.
4. In a small mixing bowl stir together the 2/3 cup sugar and lemon juice. Brush sugar mixture over warm cupcakes until all is absorbed. Cool completely. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months. Before serving, garnish with lemon peel curls and lemon balm leaves, if desired. Makes 20 to 24 cupcakes.

To Present This Gift... Place a serving plate on the watercolor paper and trace around it. Cut out the shape 1 inch smaller than the drawn line. Mix food coloring with water to desired color. Paint a design on the paper as desired. Let dry. Center the paper on the plate and arrange the cupcakes on top.

Also try this... Use colored cellophane, found at paper goods stores, to cut and use as a plate liner.

To present this gift you will need: Clear glass serving plate
Watercolor paper
Food Coloring
Clean paintbrushes

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