Made by Lilis opens in North Babylon, introduces area to chocolate dipped cheesecake-on-a-stick


For her fourth birthday, Tarek Hassanin bought his daughter Layan a chef’s hat and an apron.

“I remember that day like it was like yesterday,” Hassanin, 45, of Deer Park, said. “She ran into the kitchen and she grabbed eggs and oil, and I was like ‘what are you doing?’ She said ‘I’m baking.’

“And that night we made the first brownie for her,” he continued. “Since that day, every Sunday night she grabbed the apron and the hat and said ‘It’s time for baking.'”

What started as Sunday night baking time turned into a business model, Made by Lilis, which this month opened its second shop in North Babylon.

The Hassanin’s first bake shop opened in Times Square in 2016.

Both shops offer 86 menu items, Hassanin said. The product line stretches beyond the standard fair of cupcakes, macaroons and cannoli into creations Hassanin recently concocted to keep things fresh amid the pandemic.

The shop offers 18 varieties of cheesecake-on-a-stick, all of which are first doused in heavenly melted chocolate. Then Hassanin and his team pile on the toppings and the drizzles. His favorite is the English toffee, boasting Heath crumbles, caramel and sea salt. Meanwhile, he said Layan enjoys her cheesecake topped with cotton candy and fruity pebbles.

When he first introduced the dripping delight in June 2020, Hassanin said he sold about 800 slices a day.

Child and error

While Hassanin never received any training as a master baker, he doesn’t need it.

“Anything the we need to do, we just Google it or YouTube it,” he said. “Then we try it and then we get it perfect.”

He and Layan operated their Sunday night baking through trial and error too. This remains a tradition with the whole family, including Hassanin’s wife, Nadia, and their sons Adam and Noor.

“Her first cheesecake was horrible,” the father said of his daughter with a laugh. “It took us a really long time to perfect the cheesecake, and then the first cheesecake she made from scratch I would say was about two years later.”

As years passed, Layan grew more bold. She combined her four favorite treats — brownies, cheesecake, Oreos and cookie dough — into a single cake.

“We burned it and it just didn’t come out good,” Hassanin said of this creation. “But after a while, we got it right. You don’t want to overcook the brownie because it’s the first layer and it goes in the oven three times. And you don’t want to overcook the cheesecake too. It’s very sensitive and you have to play with temperatures and time.”

Customers craving the quadruple decker extravaganza need only order the Lilis Cheeseecake.

“It is one of the hottest things we have here,” Hassanin said. “Even in the city, we can’t keep it in stock. The minute we cut it is the minute we sell it.”

The shop’s list of popular offerings also includes mason jars stuffed with cake. Like many bakeries, Made By Lilis serves big slices, which Hassanin noted can dry out if left in a loosely-closed box. These cake jars, stuffed with various cake, icing and drizzling flavors, keep mammoth dessert portions fresh.

There’s also jumbo stuffed cookies, layered brownie bars and crème brulee.

While they are settling into North Babylon, Hassanin said he and the family are looking to open a third location — somewhere in Nassau County. He said he aims to open one store a year for the next few years.