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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.