Heat the oven to 350F.
Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot. Fill the pot with water, so that the sweet potatoes are covered by at least several inches of water. Cover, bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Simmer, covered, until the potatoes are cooked through and tender when pierced with a knife (about 20-25 minutes).
Drain the potatoes, then place back into the pan. Add the coconut milk, apple cider, salt, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Mash with a potato masher until smooth.
Add the mashed sweet potatoes to a greased 4-quart baking dish. Set aside.
Make the topping by mixing together the coconut oil, shredded coconut, maple syrup, pecans, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl.
Sprinkle the topping over the sweet potatoes in an even layer. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional 20-25 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned and the potatoes are bubbling around the edges.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.