I am making Martha Stewart's Vanilla Cake ... her frosting recipe that goes with it requires a candy thermometer which I do not own. Any other ideas?
Easy, you ask? Here's a classic butter frosting (with vanilla) that's been in about the last 10 or so editions of the BH&G cookbook. Obviously, don't even think about the margarine option--use butter. I've used it many times and am always happy with the results. http://www.bhg.com/recipe/frosting/butter-frosting/
Here is one my mother often uses:
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, more if needed
Using either a standing mixer with the whisk, or a sturdy hand--held mixer, combine the sugar and butter on low speed, then beat on medium for about three minutes. Add the vanilla and cream and beat for another minute or so on medium, adding more cream if needed to make it spreadable.
This is from The Carefree Cook, and it bypasses the whole cooking the sugar business:
3 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp
1 7.5 oz jar Marshmellow Fluff (or 7 oz marshmallow cream)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (I use more) Beat butter til smooth, grad beat in fluff, then vanilla. Use immediately.
Seriously, this is the best vanilla frosting I've ever had out of a home kitchen:
Made it for my daughter's birthday and about 5 people asked me what it was. Insanely simple, and delicious.