Start with your pecan praline garnish first to give them time to cool.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position the racks toward the center. Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.
For the garnish, combine all the ingredients and stir gently to coat. Spoon into the baking dish
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, stir gently, and let cool for approximately 10 minutes.
Stir again, gently separating pecan halves from each other. Place on a sheet of wax paper separated out and let cool fully before placing on the cupcakes.
For the cupcakes, heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and position the racks toward the center. Line your cupcake tins with wrappers.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together. Set aside.
Beat the butter until light and fluffy in the bowl of your standmixer. Add the maple syrup.
The mixture might look curdled, but it's fine. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to mix.
Alternate between adding the dry ingredients and milk, scraping down the bowl as needed.
Place the toasted pecans into a small bowl and add about 2 tsp of flour. Toss to coat (this will help keep the pecans from sinking to the bottom). Set bowl aside.
If your cake batter still looks a bit lumpy, remove the bowl from the mixer and hand whisk it for about a minute--the batter will come together quickly.
Add the pecans tossed in flour and whisk lightly to combine.
Divide the batter between wrappers in cupcake tins and bake for 18 minutes.
Make the sweet potato pie mousse filling while the cupcakes bake.
Combine the sweet potato, honey, cinnamon and salt in a food processor and puree until silky smooth.
Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form; add vanilla and whip lightly until combined.
Once banana mixture is cool, fold in the whipped cream gently. Set aside until ready to pipe into cupcakes.
For the frosting, first, make sure all of your equipment is clean and grease-free. Meringue can be finicky, and it certainly will not turn out correctly if there is anything in the bowl or on the whisk.
Combine all ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer (or favorite stainless steel mixing bowl) and whisk by hand until well combined.
Fill the bottom of a double boiler or pot with water, 1/3-full. Make sure that the bowl can sit on the pot without the bottom of the bowl touching the water.
Bring the water up to a steady simmer, then place the bowl in the pot and whisk the mixture steadily. Do not let the mixture boil. Whisk until all the sugar is dissolved in order to avoid a grainy frosting.
Continue whisking until the meringue reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer. The frosting, at this point, should have thickened and look fluffy--almost creamy.
Take the bowl off the double boiler or pot and wipe the bottom of the bowl (just to keep things neat).
Using the whisk attachment of your stand mixer or a hand mixer, whisk the meringue frosting until stiff peaks forms and it has a glossy look. This will take approximately 15-20 minutes (trust me, a stand mixer is VERY handy here).
To assemble, core the cupcakes and fill with the sweet potato pie mousse filling. Using an extra large round piping tip, pipe on the meringue frosting, then toast with a kitchen torch. Garnish with 1 pecan praline half.